Accord reached with Crooked River water agreement
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
A historic agreement announced Tuesday will determine how water in the Prineville Reservoir is divvied up among multiple users.
Oregon politicians announced Tuesday that groups from central Oregon had reached an agreement on water allocation from the Crooked River, ending decades of dispute over water in the Prineville Reservoir.
"This is historic and a great opportunity for economic growth in the Crooked River region," said Sen. Jeff Merkley in a statement.
Merkley along with Oregon's other Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, will announce legislation later this week to formalize the agreement. Gov. John Kitzhaber applauded the effort.
The agreement divvies up water between interests including local farmers and ranchers, the city of Prineville, fish and wildlife advocates and a hydropower development.
Specifically, the agreement announced Tuesday would:
- Provide Prineville with a dependable supply of water.
- Ensure a reliable supply of water to farmers who use water from Prineville Reservoir and McKay Creek for irrigation.
- Enhance the management water flows in the Crooked River to improve fish habitat, both in the river and in McCay Creek.
- Provide the ability to install a hydroelectric turbine on Bowman Dam.
Stakeholders involved in the negotiation include American River, Prineville officials, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Crook County, eight major irrigation districts in central Oregon, Portland General Electric, Trout Unlimited and WaterWatch.
"PGE strongly supports this effort to open Bowman Dam to hydropower development, which would provide Oregonians with a new source of clean, renewable electricity, as well as near-term job opportunities,” said Dave Robertson, PGE vice president of public policy, in a statement.
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