Owyhee Irrigation District


We have moved! Our office is now located at 422 Thunderegg Blvd. in Nyssa, Oregon.

Office hours:

Monday - Thursday 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Friday 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Closed at noon for lunch

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on, start date, shut off date, and other important information throughout the season.


  • Please join us on Thursday, October 14th for a barbeque to celebrate Jay Chamberlin and Jerry Nagaki's retirement. Come by anytime between 6:30 and 8:00 PM!

  • The Owyhee Irrigation District is actively seeking to establish a list of qualified candidates to fulfill multiple open positions. Please visit the Employment Opportunities section for full job descriptions and application.

  • The Joint Committee of the Owyhee Project and Board of Directors for the Owyhee Irrigation District have decided that October 1st will be the shut-off date for the 2021 season.

  • The Owyhee Irrigation District would like to remind the public that canal roads are not for public use. These are private property.

Open waterways are very dangerous; please do not enter ditches for any reason. Ditch banks and canals are not to be used for recreational activities in any way. They are extremely hazardous and life­threatening. Please always stay clear and away from the canals and their roads, and always be mindful when handling pumps and electrical equipment near water sources.

  • 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.


The allotment has not yet been set for the 2021 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 2021 season at $69.00 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 $67.50 per irrigated acre for the standard, annual Operation and Maintenance fee; there will be no increase from last year. Those who own 5 acres or less will be assessed a charge of $75.00 for account fees plus the $69.00 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.


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.


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.


Current reservoir storage is 358,203 acre-feet or 50% full. Last year at this time, the storage was 529,372 acre-feet or about 73% full. Snowpack and total precipitation have been slow to improve since January. The storm on Valentine’s Day weekend helped the watershed by adding to what little snow we did have. The snowpack then was only 53% but increased to 86% with this last storm. The forecast is predicting another storm in late February. The key is the weather in the spring. Warm temperatures or rain is essential to getting the snowpack to melt quickly. District crews have been busy working on the aging infrastructure. Our staff made repairs to the Ring Gate or Glory Hole at the Dam were made this past fall, and more repairs will be done in stages for the next four years to complete the project. District staff continues to work with landowners to pipe canals and laterals to pressurize sprinkler systems for farm use.

Reservoir water levels and Hydromet data can be found here: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/owytea.html

Real-time snowpack telemetry sites can be viewed in Google Maps and on Google Earth - SNOTEL: http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/

The District continues to work on the system Improvement Plan, also known as the Modernization Strategy; this is a huge undertaking and will be for years to come. At present, the Board of Directors and District staff have been cooperating with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Water Shed Council, and local Soil and Water Conservation District to form a partnership. With this organized effort, we can move forward with a much better effort to reach our objectives. We are developing a System Improvement Plan for the Owyhee Project to identify potential solutions to meet our goals. Some of these are:

Increase watershed protection.

Improve water quality.

Secure our water supply.

Enhance irrigation efficiency.

Improve water management.

This effort so far has been funded by a grant through the Oregon Energy Trust. For future funding, the District will be seeking both Federal, state, and local avenues as we move forward.

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 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.


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, 2020, 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.


President - Jerry Nagaki

Vice President - Dan Tschida

Secretary - Frank Ausman

Eric White

Bruce Corn