AID pretends to frame their proposed 13-mile piping project as a fish and threatened species habitat conservation effort—it’s not. This is AID’s federal funding money-grab designed to line their pockets and their out-of-state pipe supplier’s at severe cost to homeowners, the local environment and the upper Deschutes Wild and Scenic Area. Water losses to seepage are a big problem for the AID canal and reducing seepage would enable the District to keep more water in Wickiup reservoir to improve upper Deschutes habitat and help transfer water to farmers… BUT there are other ways to reduce seepage that don’t come with the extreme costs of a pipeline.
The list of problems with a pipeline is long:
–The historic flume near Lava Island Falls will be piped and buried like an earthen dam with a road on top, possibly altering the right channel of the river and leaving a monstrous visual scar to be seen from the River Trail.
–For owners abutting the canal (430), this will mean enduring a 7-year construction project extending an alleged 50’ right-of-way from the canal edge into their yards, a massive reduction in property values, a loss of many mature pine trees, other vegetation and the loss of wildlife that rely on this 115-year-old canal for water, habitat and travel.
–All residents in the 13-mile project area will be affected by the 7-year construction corridor and the loss of wildlife in the area as well as by new and unknown forced migration patterns of wildlife seeking water. And we all know that dead and dying vegetation, plus heavy equipment equals increased fire danger. –Owners in the broader area with wells can expect those to dry up and have to be deepened (if they meet code) or re-drilled entirely at the cost of $40/foot—average well depth in Bend is 500’.
What should be done instead? How do we save water, help farmers and improve threatened species habitat in the upper Deschutes?
Line the canal to greatly reduce seepage—don’t pipe it. Leave the historic flume alone, it’s not the problem. Consider non-structural solutions like water banking, on-farm improvements, winter stock run reductions & irrigation season modifications.
There are a variety of different lining techniques that greatly reduce seepage for the sake of keeping water in Wickiup reservoir but they don’t stop seepage completely, like a pipe does. This kind of “engineered seepage” serves everybody’s (and the canal ecosystem’s) interests with very little downside.
–Shotcrete and grout-filled-mattress style canal lining is durable, inexpensive (way cheaper than AID’s outlandish cost claims in their E.A.) and they’re aesthetically pleasing. They’re already used in many spots on the Arnold canal.
–These techniques can be applied by local providers, improving our local economy.–They’re time-tested! Arnold Canal’s test segments of these lining styles between China Hat Rd. and Highway 97 have been in place for 30-years, are cited as successes in canal lining studies worldwide and are still in great shape–but Arnold Irrigation District claims they’ve “failed.”
Why won’t Arnold talk about their plans for the flume? Because they think they can sneak it by you. Why won’t Arnold talk about canal lining? Because the big, lazy money comes with the pipe, period. They’ve even hired a so-called environmental consultant that pumps out Environmental Assessments and other pro-piping analyses like a puppy mill but partners with a 3.5-billion-dollar corporation in California that does…guess what? Installs the pipe they want to replace our canal with.