Irrigation Improvement and Water Management
Agricultural water supply is emerging as a critical natural resource issue. Irrigated agriculture is essential in meeting our food and fiber production needs. As the nation’s largest water user, agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of the country’s annual water consumption.
Irrigation water management encourages the application of water in an amount that meets the need of the growing plant in a manner that avoids extended soil saturation, Leaching of nutrients and runoff. By increasing application precision and reducing the time for irrigating, water can be conserved and energy can be saved.
Agriculture accounts for 88% of the water use in the Deschutes basin. In Deschutes County approximately 66,280 acres are serviced by 5 irrigation districts: Arnold Irrigation District, Central Oregon Irrigation District, Swalley Irrigation District, Three Sisters Irrigation District, and Tumalo Irrigation District. These irrigation districts plus three others (Lone Pine, Ochoco, and North Unit) in central Oregon make up the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC). Lands irrigated are mostly pasture and hay land with a small percentage of specialty crops being grown.
The demand for irrigation water is great, and therefore landowners and land managers must be more conservation-minded, using less water to keep more water in stream. That's where the Deschutes SWCD can help! We can examine your current irrigation operation and management and develop solutions to be more efficient with your irrigation water. In some cases piping a private lateral could provide a significate water savings to your operation. Click on this link to see projects!