Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 03:00 PM

Mr. Elmer McDaniels

Manager, Tumalo Irrigation Water District

 

 

TESTIMONY

OF

ELMER McDANIELS
MANAGER
TUMALO IRRIGATION DISTRICT
BEND, OREGON

ON

S.247

TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ASSIST IN THE PLANNING, DESIGN, AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE TUMALO IRRIGATION DISTRICT WATER CONSERVATION PROJECT IN DESCHUTES COUNTY, OREGON

SUBMITTED TO

THE UNITED STATES SENATE
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WATER AND POWER

JULY  12, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C.

 


 
TUMALO IRRIGATION DISTRICT
64697 Cook Ave.
Bend, OREGON  97701
Phone (541) 382-3053
FAX (541) 383-3287
Email: 
tid@tumalo.org
Web Page:  www.tumalo.org


Madam Chairwoman, Members of the Subcommittee, I am Elmer McDaniels, Manager of the Tumalo Irrigation District in Bend, Oregon.  The Tumalo Irrigation District  -or TID- was founded in 1914 and currently serves about 45 square miles with 8,100 irrigated acres between Bend and Sisters, Oregon, on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains.

I would like to state at the outset our thanks to Senator Smith and Senator Wyden for introducing S.247 - a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to assist in the planning, design, and construction of the Tumalo Irrigation District Water Conservation Project in Deschutes County, Oregon - a piece of legislation the District strongly supports.  It is vital to us as we undergo the rapid urbanization and growth that is occurring throughout our part of the state during a period of continuing drought.  The project involves the piping of approximately six miles of open canals, and returning 20 cfs of conserved water to in-stream flows under the Oregon State Water Conservation Statute, which represents $5.4 million of public benefit.  Under this Bill, the State of Oregon will hold the conserved in-stream water right resulting from the project.

The benefits of this particular water conservation project are to eliminate water loss, enhance public safety, and conserve energy along the project’s six-mile length.  The completed project, including other work by TID,  will deliver pressurized water to TID irrigators during drought years, whereas they now receive an inadequate water supply in 8 out of 10 years.  From a
TUMALO IRRIGATION DISTRICT
64697 Cook Ave.
Bend, OREGON  97701
Phone (541) 382-3053
FAX (541) 383-3287
Email: 
tid@tumalo.org
Web Page:  www.tumalo.org


watershed enhancement perspective, this project is to provide significant in-stream flow benefits to both Tumalo Creek and the Deschutes River, a major tributary to the Columbia River, draining much of central Oregon.  Recently, the Middle Deschutes River has been reduced to seasonal flows as low as 30 cfs, and the goal for this project is to enhance that flow to eventually achieve 250 cfs for the Middle Deschutes basin, a river reach that is significantly productive for trout and anadromous fisheries.

The TID Water Conservation Project will provide a 20 cfs water savings to transfer to in-stream, in the Tumalo Creek and the Deschutes River.  Together with previous TID water conservation efforts, this represents 10.4% of the 250 cfs basin goal for restoring the Deschutes River, which will greatly impact stream ecosystem and habitat for listed species as well as provide flow stability for both anadromous fisheries and residents.  The completed project will eliminate or reduce farm pumping systems thereby saving energy, realize pressurization throughout the irrigation system, and reduce the risk of injury and drowning to small children growing up in our District around open canals.

The Tumalo Irrigation District, even though it’s a non-Reclamation District, has a history of working with the Bureau on solutions.  The Federal and State interest in constructing this project is apparent given the need for solutions in the Deschutes basin for in-stream flow, anadromous
TUMALO IRRIGATION DISTRICT
64697 Cook Ave.
Bend, OREGON  97701
Phone (541) 382-3053
FAX (541) 383-3287
Email: 
tid@tumalo.org
Web Page:  www.tumalo.org


fish, and environmental issues;  we view the work that would be undertaken with this project as a model that the Bureau should consider for their own projects, consistent with Water 2025.

The total expected Federal share for this project is $14 million, the same as the estimated project planning, design, and construction costs.  Although TID isn’t putting up the traditional cash portion of this project cost-share, we propose to count the value of the 20 cfs of conserved water generated by the project and transferred back in-stream - a $5.4 million value - towards our equivalent local match along with our in-kind services.  We appreciate the fact there may be some confusion regarding the cost-share requirements.  Section 3, Subsection (b), part (2) of S.247 - Credit Toward Non-Federal Share states:
 “The Secretary shall credit toward the non-Federal share of the Project--
  (B) an amount equal to--
   (i) the value of any water converted by the Project to instream water rights,         as determined in accordance with State law…”

The precedent for this method of water-return cost-share accounting is from Nebraska, where the value of the conserved and returned water is used as part of that State’s cost-sharing portion in the Platte River basin Endangered Species Recovery Implementation Program.

TUMALO IRRIGATION DISTRICT
64697 Cook Ave.
Bend, OREGON  97701
Phone (541) 382-3053
FAX (541) 383-3287
Email: 
tid@tumalo.org
Web Page:  www.tumalo.org


The $5.4 million dollar value of the water is calculated as follows:
• A single cubic foot per second will irrigate approximately 60 acres.
• The 20 cfs of conserved water is equivalent to the amount of water needed to irrigate 1,200 acres of land in the TID.  (20 cfs is equal to approx. 10,000 gallons per minute.)
• The current market price of 1 acre of TID water rights is $4,500.
• 1,200 acres x $4,500 = $5.4 million in value of water

I would also like to submit for the Record three letters:  one from the State of Oregon, one from the State’s Department of Water Resources, and one from the State’s Fish and Wildlife Department. 

We believe this Bill offers a District such as ours the opportunity to undertake a project having so many positive benefits; in terms of water conservation savings, watershed enhancement, protection of listed species, for reliable water supply to our service area customers during the drought, and to increase public safety in our communities.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this important legislation to our District.  I am pleased to answer any questions that you may have, and we look forward to favorable action by the Subcommittee on Water and Power.