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BEND, OR -- Swalley Irrigation District plans to pipe 16.6 miles of its main canals and laterals, and they're looking for public input on possible impacts to the watershed. Swalley Irrigation provides water to nearly 700 users across more than 4,300 acres.

State water conservationist Tom Makowski helped develop the two-year plan and says it encompasses more than half the district, "Roughly close to 30 miles of main canals and laterals in Swalley, and they're talking about converting 16.6 miles of the open canals and laterals." And, he says the massive project will need plenty of capital, "$11 million is what they're asking for in federal funds. Now that is matched with funds from state agencies, and then also from the district."


Makowski says a public meeting scheduled for next month is one of the final stages in getting the project approved and underway, "When we get to a final draft, and we respond to all the comments in writing, then we would go ahead and submit that to our national headquarters for funding authorization, and we hope to be able to do that before the end of the year." He believes, if everything goes as planned, construction would begin this winter, "One of the things that's difficult here is we that have just that limited time about six months of construction time to work on this." He tells KBND News, "I am pleased about that because it does reaffirm what we thought from the beginning that there's clearly more beneficial effects and impacts than there are any kind of detrimental ones."

The public meeting will be held October 10 at 6 p.m., at Cascades Academy. Click HERE for more information on the meeting, and to access Swalley's Draft Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment.

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