Deer Creek Irrigation Efficiency
Deer Creek flows for 75 miles from the snowfields of Mount Lassen to its confluence with the Sacramento River. Its middle section flows through a rugged canyon in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and has reliable cold, clear, year-round flows that provide excellent habitat for Central Valley Spring-run Chinook salmon, a federally endangered species. But the lowest 11 miles of the creek flow across the Central Valley floor, where low streamflow and resulting warm conditions in the late spring and early fall can prevent fish from reaching the upstream habitat. These conditions are exacerbated by two large irrigation diversions.
Deer Creek Irrigation District (DCID) delivers irrigation water to 1,200 acres of walnuts, almonds, prunes, grapes and irrigated pasture using a 100-year old, 14-mile open ditch. This project will increase instream flow in Deer Creek during the March – October irrigation season by installing a remotely operated headgate structure on the diversion operated by the Deer Creek Irrigation District (DCID), allowing water to be delivered much more efficiently to members within the DCID service area.
The remotely operated headgate will prevent the over-diversion of water during times when it is not needed to meet demand, which can occur with the existing manually operated system. As a result, more water will be left instream in Deer Creek.
* Project supports agricultural water use efficiency to reduce the amount of water withdrawn from surface or groundwater sources.