Merkley, Wyden announce irrigation project funding headed to Central Oregon

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Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced on Wednesday the Tumalo, Owyhee, East Fork and Ochoco Irrigation District projects will be receiving critical federal funding that will help communities with limited water supplies.  

These projects—funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill—will support efficient irrigation methods with better resource management providing water for agriculture, protecting and restoring wildlife habitats and improving water quantity and quality.

This funding will help establish climate resilient solutions to offset the impact of drought throughout the regions of Deschutes River, Tumalo Creek, Snake River and Hood River watersheds.

Existing open irrigation canals will be converted to pipes, which will help conserve and preserve critical water where it is needed to restore habitats for trout and salmon species.

The implementation of water pipe conveyance will reduce evaporation and seepage loss, divert less water from rivers and increases flow downstream. 

“Across rural Oregon, everyone feels the stress of dwindling water supplies caused by grinding drought, which is why we need smart solutions to make sure we’re using water as efficiently as possible,” said Merkley. 

“These important projects will help conserve water, improve irrigation conditions for rural Oregon farmers, and ensure critical habitats for trout and salmon are protected.” 

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