Whychus Creek Irrigation Modernization
Whychus Creek tumbles down the eastern flank of the Cascade Mountains, through the City of Sisters, OR and into a deep canyon before joining the Deschutes River near Lake Billy Chinook. Irrigation water demands on Whychus Creek far exceed natural water supply and for 100 years, irrigation water withdrawals dried up the creek before it reached Sisters. Since 1999, the Deschutes River Conservancy has worked with the Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID) and other partners to restore summer flows to Whychus Creek, providing water to support fish, wildlife and recreation.
This project, a partnership between the Three Sisters Irrigation District, the Deschutes River Conservancy and multiple funders, supports the final phase of a decade-long effort to modernize TSID’s water delivery infrastructure through pipeline construction, enhancing water security and instream environmental benefits. Construction of this final phase of TSID’s main canal pipeline will a) reduce water loss, b) dedicate conserved water to benefit stream flows, and c) deliver water more reliably to irrigators. This project complements a larger initiative that includes hydro-electric generation, on-demand water delivery, on-farm efficiency projects, delivery of pressurized water that reduces electricity loads, and watershed scale habitat restoration.
* Project restores natural hydrologic conditions to facilitate improved capture and infiltration of surface water and groundwater recharge
** This resource has been reviewed and found to meet the BEF Flow Program Certification Criteria for Evaluating Proposals to Secure Environmental Flows by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.