The U.S. Department of Interior is sending nearly $2.7 million to the Deschutes River Conservancy for a project aimed at reducing water seepage in canals, potentially allowing for the conservation and storage of more water. The money is being provided through the bipartisan infrastructure law passed by Congress.
The Bureau of Reclamation says the money will go toward converting more than six miles of canals to high-density polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride pipe. Control and data acquisition systems will also be installed at 10 locations along the Pilot Butte Canal.
“The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 1,548 acre-feet, which is currently lost to seepage and will result in reduced diversions,” the bureau said in a statement. “Conserved water can either be stored in the Wickiup Reservoir in the winter for release during critical times for endangered species, including the Oregon spotted frog, or can be left instream in the Deschutes River in the summer to provide increased flows and cooler temperatures for sensitive fish species.”
The Deschutes River Conservancy is partnering with the Central Oregon Irrigation District, the North Unit Irrigation District and the Arnold Irrigation District on the project, the bureau said.
Another $7.5 million total is going to the Malheur Watershed Council and the Tualatin Valley Water District.
Nationwide, $140 million is going to 84 projects in 15 western states.