We offer Museum & Dam Tours to the public by reservation only. Come take a step back in time & learn about the amazing ingenuity of the people who designed & constructed the Owyhee Project which includes the Dam, Canals, Tunnels, Hyrdo plants, Pumping Plants & water systems designed to supply the area's farms with thousands of acres of water each year.
Owyhee Irrigation District is committed to providing tours to the public that are accessible to the widest possible audience, however, due to the limitations apparent to facilities, not all people will be able to participate. The Owyhee Dam construction took place from 1928-1932, the primary focus of the design & facilities was on the maintenance and economy of materials and space. As a result of these areas of focus during construction, the dam's inner workings can be damp, dark, confined, and closed off with most areas only accessible by stairways.
Tours inside the Dam require walking on wet & uneven surfaces, climbing stairs & being in a confined dark space for a period of time. Some people with physical limitations may not be able to participate in the Dam Tours. If any member of your party has limitations that these conditions might affect, you may contact the District to see if any reasonable accommodations can be made in advance. We are actively working to increase the accessibility but cost and available space make many alterations to facilities difficult.
Please indicate in your Tour Request & notify the Dam Personnel at the time of the tour of any potential limitations.
In 1925, after studying various reports and plans made by the Government engineers, State cooperative boards, and private companies, after conducting further investigation of their own, the Bureau issued a feasibility report recommending the construction of the Owyhee Project. Work began on the storage dam and canal system in 1928, and the first water was delivered to the project lands in 1935. The Owyhee Project was designed to supply water to the entire project area by gravity flow from Owyhee Reservoir. But, because the Owyhee River's flow is frequently too low to supply the necessary water, privately-constructed pumping plants provide Snake River water to lower-lying project lands. These plants are operated under a 1936 contract between the Bureau of Reclamation and several irrigation districts. The completed Owyhee Project lies west of the Snake River in Malheur County, Oregon, and Owyhee County, Idaho. The project provides a full irrigation water supply to 105,249 acres, and a supplemental supply to 13,000 acres. Of the 118,249 acres total, 71% is in Oregon, the remainder in Idaho. The project encompasses 1,831 farm units and 8 towns.
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