2017 WATER ASSESSMENT
The allotment has not yet been set for the 2017 water season. The Board of Directors and Joint Committee will continue to monitor the water situation and announce the allotment when we get closer to the beginning of irrigation.
The Owyhee Irrigation District board of directors have set the incurred O&M charges for the 2017 season at $62.00 per irrigable acre. This will be a $4.00 increase from last year: $2.50 increase on the normal Operation and Maintenance fee and another $1.50 for the Malheur Siphon project. Those owners who have less than 5 acres will be assessed a charge of $75.00 for account fees plus the $62.00 per irrigable acre.
In order NOT to incur interest charges, the water bill must be paid on or before April 15. Payments received in the mail with an April 15th postage date WILL BE CONSIDERED DELINQUENT IF RECEIVED AFTER APRIL 15TH.
The District has contracted with MWH Americas, an engineering firm from Boise, who has performed an evaluation, structure analysis, and is currently engineering the design of the replacement structures to support the siphon. The District will continue to move forward on the timeline for repairs and pursue funding options that are available. The District estimates this will be a multiple year project.
For more information, please attend our Annual Water Users Meeting on March 21, 2017, at 1:30 pm at the Four Rivers Cultural Center.
Right of Way Issues
Please keep personal items, such as haystacks, pumps, pipes, hoses, fences, and equipment off District right of ways. These obstructions create many problems for the District's employees, from safety concerns to property damage. In the spring, when we are preparing the 500-mile canal system is for the delivery of water, cleaning and burning will occur, and District employees do not have enough time to remove the many obstacles they come across. THE DISTRICT WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY LEFT WITHIN THE DISTRICT'S RIGHT OF WAYS. The average width of a right of way is a total of 30 feet, 15 feet from the center both directions. For larger canals, this could be up to 100 feet, 50 feet from the center each direction. If you have questions about a particular right of way, please contact the main office. Your cooperation in this matter is greatly needed and much appreciated; this allows us to keep the system functioning proficiently to the benefit of all water users.
Water Rights and Making Changes to Your Operations
We realize that many water users are making changes to their watering practices. It is imperative that you discuss any changes that will affect how you use your federal irrigation water. We must comply with state laws and federal regulations. Only lands that are designated as irrigable can have federal water applied to them. The District has noticed many of those switching to pivot operations are now watering ground that does not have water rights. There are options for you to move your water rights to cover the non-irrigated ground.
This rule also applies to land that has water rights but is not being irrigated. Under ORS 540.610 irrigation water must be applied to beneficial use within a five (5) year period, or those rights are subject to forfeit.
It is crucial that if you think you may be watering land without water rights or have land that does have water rights but is not being irrigated, please contact the main office, so that we may discuss the options available to you.
2017 GOPHER BOUNTY PROGRAM
There will be a Gopher Bounty Program this year. The District will pay $1.00 per tail. Gophers must be caught within the jurisdiction of the Owyhee Irrigation District. LANDOWNERS are the ONLY authorized participants. Designated days for turning in gopher tails are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between the times of 8:00 A.M. and 8:30 A.M. Rotting tails will NOT be accepted. The tails will be counted and verified. A check will be issued to you the following month.
FEDERAL RRA FORMS
Just a reminder that if you own and/or lease 240 irrigable acres or more in the 17 Western states, you are required to complete a Federal RRA form. Water CANNOT be delivered until these forms are completed.
If you are a new owner or a renter leasing 240 acres and you need more information, please call the District Office.
If you have been in the District Chemical Lock and Close Program in the past, the District will be sending instructions and information that water users will need in order to make an informed decision on the best way to manage your operation.
If you wish to participate must complete a Lock & Close Program Request Form. This must be returned to the District Office by April 14, 2017, if you do not want these chemicals to enter your head gate. For more information, please contact the district office, your ditch rider or the environmental coordinator.
This year we will be using the AlertSense notification system for aquatic herbicide applications made to the canals and laterals. This alert system will contact the user by email, landline, text, and cell phone. Those who were on last year's list have been entered into the system for this year. Our hope is that this will keep our patrons better informed and provide documentation for our records.
At the Joint Committee meeting last night (04/18/2017) it was decided that over the next 7-10 days the reservoir will be filled. The Ring Gate/Glory Hole will continue to run for an undetermined amount of time depending on runoff and inflows.
For those who are asking for where the Owyhee Dam is.
Please follow the link to a map and you can get directions!
We've gotten a few calls with questions about the bills sent out this year. We would like to apologize for any confusion caused by the changes. I'm hoping to answer some questions you may have. There are two separate charges on the bill this year; the regular Operation and Maintenance fee or "O & M" and a "Project" fee. The O & M is the annually assessed charge, and this year the amount is $60.50 per irrigated acre. The Project fee is an additional charge of $1.50 per irrigated acre. The total cost per acre is $62.00 for the 2017 season. Our bills have never shown what the cost per acre is. However, that information can be found in the newsletter or here on our website. For those wondering the extra Project fee is for the repairs being made to the Malheur Siphon. If you would like to know more, you can find additional information in your newsletter, here on our website, or please join us at the Annual Water Users Meeting being held at the Four Rivers Cultural Center located at 676 SW 5th Avenue in Ontario, Oregon on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. Hopefully this helps clear things up. As always, you are welcome to call or come into the office with any questions you have. We hope to see you next Tuesday!
*Please follow us on Facebook for updates on, start date, shut off date, and other important information. We also have uploaded photos for you to enjoy!
This past winter is one that many will talk about for years to come. With as much snow as we have had in the lower elevations, we were very fortunate not to have more serious flooding here in the valley.
Our snow pack is at 138% of normal. On March 7, 2017, our reservoir storage was at 528,710-acre feet and 73% full. The 2017 water year is shaping up very nicely. Our March 1st water supply outlook report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows between 895,000 to 1,200,000 acre feet yet to come sometime between March and July. Mother nature will decide when it comes, and that will dictate downstream flows along the Owyhee River which may cause concerns regarding the flooding of ag lands next to the river. With snow still on the ground in many areas and a wet spring, so far 2017 has been anything but normal.
The District staff is working on updating our required water conservation plan. Engineering is moving forward to address the rehabilitation of the Malheur Siphon, an issue that has been plaguing the District for many years. The Twilight gravity flow pipeline project is also being finished and will be ready this spring for growers in the Sunset Valley area. At the end of this water season, the start of the Vista View gravity flow pipeline project located near Morgan and Clark Avenue will start. These projects are cost shared with the Oregon Water Enhancement Board or (OWEB) who has worked closely with the District to help advance our water conservation goals.
With reservoir storage looking as good as predicted water supplies should be good for a couple of years if all goes well. We are hoping for a great water year and a successful season for all our growers.
The Board of Directors for the Owyhee Irrigation District usually meet the third Tuesday, following the first Monday, of each month, although, that can change depending on Management, The Joint Committee, and The Board of Directors. Check here and our Facebook page for date and time information.
This meeting is open to the public, and we encourage water users to attend. If you would like to speak at the meeting, please contact the office:
(541) 372-3540 so we can put you on the agenda.
Please contact the main office if you have questions regarding the monthly meeting.
Chairman - Jerry Nagaki
Vice Chairman - Dan Tschida
Secretary - Frank Ausman
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The Malheur County Weed Advisory Board will again sponsor free herbicide targeting White Top & Perennial pepperweed:
Nyssa- Friday April 28th, 10:00am to Noon In Front of Nyssa Rodeo Ground
Ontario- Saturday April 29th, 9:00am to Noon At the MC Fairground Parking Lot
Vale- Saturday April 29th, 2:00pm to 5:00pm MC Road Dept Shop 1001Barkley Dr.
Each Malheur County resident will be given up to 10 gallons of premixed ready-to-use weed spray, specifically formulated to control White top & Perennial pepperweed.
Knowledgeable experts will be on hand to give instruction and answer questions. You must be 18 years or older and show an ID with your address. Bring your sprayers or a chemical safe container, it must be safe, seal-able and clean.