Owyhee Irrigation District
We want to thank all our critical partners in the Oregon agricultural community; the farmers, ranchers, food processors, farmworkers, truckers, and service suppliers who are all identified as essential workers. We applaud your resilience, leadership, compassion, and all the effort you put into our communities.
• 2022 WATER ASSESSMENT AND ALLOTMENT •
The allotment has not yet been set for the 2022 water season. There will be no Annual Water Users Meeting this year. For more information, please check our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates.
The Owyhee Irrigation District Board of Directors has set the incurred O&M charges for the 2022 season at $70.00 per irrigated acre. The fee breakdown is as follows: $1.50 per irrigated acre for a special assessment going towards the repairs on the Malheur Siphon and $68.50 per irrigated acre for the standard, annual Operation and Maintenance fee; this is a $1.00 increase from last year. Those who own 5 acres or less will be assessed a charge of $75.00 for account fees plus the $70.00 per irrigable acre.
IMPORTANT PLEASE READ:
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.
• FEDERAL RRA FORMS •
If you own or rent/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.
Please be advised: The Bureau of Reclamation will issue administrative fees to those who own and/or rent/lease 240 irrigated acres or more and do not complete the required forms. This includes land you own and/or rent/lease in other irrigation districts.
If you are a new owner or a renter with 240 acres and you need more information, please call the District Office.
• 2022 GOPHER BOUNTY PROGRAM •
There will be a gopher bounty program this year. However, some changes have been made. To extend the availability of funds and give everyone in the district a chance to participate there is now a limit of 400 tailS per Farm/organization per month. The District will pay $1.00 per tail. Gophers must be caught within the jurisdiction of the Owyhee Irrigation District. LANDOWNERS WITH OWYHEE IRRIGATION WATER RIGHTS are the ONLY authorized participants. We will begin accepting tails in April. Designated days for turning in gopher tails are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between the times of 8:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. A District employee will count and verify the number of tails, and a check will be issued the following month. Rotting tails and other parts of animals will NOT be accepted.
• 2022 MANAGER'S REPORT •
Current reservoir storage as of February 14th is 151,904 acre-feet or 21% full. Last year at this time, the storage was 356,333 acre-feet or about 50% full. Snowpack and total precipitation have slowed since December. We will need very busy weather patterns between now and April to make up this considerable hole. Similar historical storage years for Valentine’s day were: 1962, 2002, 2003, & 2015 which had an April 30th average storage of 308,730 acre-feet. The closest of those years were 2002 and 2015, which had very different outcomes. The long and the short is, while the current picture is less than ideal, there is hope. Things can change in the watershed quickly, sometimes even with one storm event.
Staff continued the repairs to the Ring Gate or Glory Hole at the Dam picking up from last year and completing an even larger section, this year which will compress the completion timeframe. District staff will complete four canal piping projects this off-season. Along with retrofitting an automated trash-screen at the Dead Ox pumping facility, two large canal gates in the North canal near Cow Hollow, and some temporary repairs to the Kingman Lateral and other O&M projects associated with the District’s infrastructure.
Work on the System Improvement Plan (SIP), a huge undertaking, continues to move forward to organize District improvement efforts and reach our infrastructure objectives. The SIP for the Owyhee Project was developed and identified potential solutions to meet our goals. Currently, we are seeking funding to move forward with the watershed plan component. After the watershed plan is developed, the District can start seeking the Federal and State funds necessary to implement the SIP and its associated infrastructure projects. The planning and funding process will take several more years, including a public comments process. However, when the funds are secured and construction projects begin it will provide necessary improvements to District infrastructure, ensuring many more decades of water deliveries to District patrons.
• Right of Way Issues •
No fences, ditches, or other obstructions shall be placed across or upon any District canal bank without special permission of management and then only with the understanding that suitable openings or gates will be provided to enable District employees to travel said canal banks without hindrance. Management shall have the right to remove all fences of obstructions constructed contrary to these provisions. Maintaining weed control on the right-of-way will be at the discretion of the District. Obstructions are not permitted on District canals, right of ways, and facilities. The following are some obstructions that are not permitted; drip systems, diesel fuel, stacking hay, chemical storage box tanks, junky equipment, buildings, no parking of equipment, landscaping, trees, brush, nor lawns should be grown on District canals, laterals, or right of way.
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 farming practices. It is imperative that you discuss any changes that will affect how you use your irrigation water. We must comply with state laws and federal regulations. Under ORS 540.510 only lands that are designated as irrigable can have 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; this is against both state and federal law. 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 are making changes to your operation, watering land without water rights, or have land that does have water rights but is not being irrigated, please contact Kris or Brittany at the main office, so that we may discuss the options available to you.
• AQUATIC CHEMICALS •
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 to make an informed decision on the best way to manage your operation.
If you wish to participate, you must complete a Lock & Close Program Request Form. This must be returned to the District Office by April 10, 2022, if you do not wish to have these chemicals to enter your headgate. For more information, please contact the district office, your ditch rider or the Owyhee Irrigation District's environmental coordinator.
This year we will again be using the AlertSense notification system for aquatic herbicide applications made to the canals and laterals. This alert system contacts 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. This system keeps our patrons better informed and provides documentation for our records.
• Monthly Board Meetings •
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.
Division 1 - Eric White
Division 2 - Frank Ausman
Division 3 - Bruce Corn
Division 4 - Dan Tschida
Division 5 - Greg Clark