July 2021 Water Allotment Reduction

Dear North Unit Irrigation District Patrons,

 

It pains me to write this letter, as I am fully aware of the extremely difficult situation that we find ourselves in.  As you know, on June 21, 2021 the NUID Board of Directors was forced to reduce the allotment from 1.0 acre foot per acre (af/pa) down to 0.90 af/pa for Deschutes River water rights and from 0.50 af/pa down to 0.40 for Crooked River water rights.  By reducing the overall water allotment, the Board of Directors’ goal was to reduce the overall demand on the system and be able to equalize incoming versus outgoing water.  Unfortunately, after reducing the allotment, demand actually increased.

 

At current demand, Haystack Reservoir will reach dead pool (i.e., no storage capacity) in approximately 7 to 8 days.  At that point, NUID will not be able to meet current demand and will be forced to limit delivery rates.  Going forward, our options are very limited.  When you combine the inflow from our diversion in Bend, the small amount of water being made available to us from Central Oregon Irrigation District, the water we are pumping from the Crooked River, and the additional purchased water from the Deschutes Valley Water District, there is simply not enough water to meet demand, or maintain Haystack Reservoir.

 

With that as background, the NUID Board of Directors held an emergency meeting yesterday (6/30/21) to discuss options going forward.  The goal of the meeting was twofold:

  1. Reduce the immediate demand on the system.
  2. Extend the available water through the end of August.

 

The Board determined that a further reduction in the allotment by 0.10 af/pa (down to 0.80 af/pa Deschutes River and 0.30 af/pa Crooked River) and a cap of 1.5% order rate (calculated from available water after the allotment reduction) was necessary.

 

Here is an example of the order cap:

After the additional 0.10 reduction, let’s say you have 100 acre feet of your allotment remaining.  1.5% of 100 = 1.50 acre feet for 60 days.  1.50 acre feet divided by 2 = 0.75 CFS max orderable amount for 60 days. This 0.75 CFS can be divided among your turn-outs since the cap is imposed on the operator account.

 

The changes are scheduled to go into effect Saturday July 3, 2021.  We realize that this is far from perfect, but with the limited options, the Board determined it’s the best short-term solution that treats everyone equally.  Once Haystack is at a more stable level the Board will re-evaluate the situation and possibly remove the order cap.

 

The current situation changes moment by moment and NUID staff will be updating the Board of Directors as the situation continues to unfold.  I will aim to update district patrons as often as possible.

 

Please attend our Townhall meeting this evening, July 1st, at 6pm in the Mackie Conroy Meeting Room, Jefferson County Fairgrounds, where we will be available to address any of your questions and concerns.

 

 

Josh Bailey

General Manager

North Unit Irrigation District