North Unit’s Project Wishlist – System Improvements, Upgrades, and Conservation Efforts

Here you will find information about projects and changes the District is either currently working on, or would like (or is currently planning) to undertake.

  • Major Maintenance

    Haystack Repairs with USBR

    Over the past couple of years, NUID has seen some issues with Haystack dam’s emergency gate (there is a regulating gate, and an emergency gate). The regulating gate controls the flow; the emergency gate is essentially on and off.

    Haystack was recently drained so Bureau of Reclamation engineers can get inside the dam in an area that’s normally underwater and assess the problem. Inspections and repair planning are set to take place in the month of November 2022.

  • Objective 1

    The Crooked River Water Quality and Supply Reliability Project (Lake Billy Chinook Pumping Plant)

    The Crooked River Water Quality and Supply Reliability Project would include a pumping plant on Lake Billy Chinook, a pipeline, and associated features to deliver water to Deschutes Project facilities. A Phase 1 design study was completed in 2020.

    Objective 1

  • Objective 2, Currently Underway!

    Optimize Conveyance Efficiency and Control in NUID Main Canal (Automation Grant)

    Made possible with funding from a USBR WaterSmart grant, NUID will be conducting a major modernization upgrade on its primary canal control areas. These upgrades will eliminate “surge” and “drop out” events which occur throughout the main canal due to technical or mechanical failures, and allow far greater control over the water that NUID conveys through Jefferson County. This project will include:

    • Install 9 new automated undershot gate structures (submerged orifice) at key locations on the main canal;
    • Install 7 que and stage (or, water flow and height) measurement sites using rugged sensors (transducers, potentiometers, magnetic meters, etc.);
    • Design a centralized IoT SCADA interface for optimal distribution efficiency and operational control.
  • Objective 3

    PL-566 Piping Project (Infrastructure Modernization Project)

    Public Law 83-566 funding of the North Unit Irrigation District Infrastructure-Modernization Project : the Project would include installing 27.5 miles of buried pipeline and four retention ponds.  The proposed action would pipe and pressurize laterals 31, 32, 34, and 43 and construct four 1,000-cubic-yard retention ponds at the terminal ends of laterals 31, 34-2, 43, and 43-10. Under the Preferred Alternative, NUID would install 27.5 miles of gravity-pressurized buried pipe and construct four 1,000-cubic-yard retention ponds, each approximately 0.5 acre in size. Project sponsors would install 27.5 miles of gravity-pressurized buried pipe ranging from 6 to 72 inches in diameter, upgrade 153 turnouts to accommodate the pressurized delivery system, and construct four 1,000-cubic-yard retention ponds to eliminate discharges from four operational spills into the Crooked River, Lake Billy Chinook, and an unnamed ephemeral creek. Preferred Alternative construction would occur in two project groups over the course of 6 years.

    Objective 3

  • Objective 4

    Bend Fish Screen Retrofit

    The current axial-cylinder (or ‘Rotary’) fish screens that are currently in place at the NUID diversion in Bend, have been in place since their initial installation in the mid-1900’s. Their quality in operation and resilience to extreme conditions (and time) has certainly been an impressive feat. Though it will be sad to see them go, North Unit aims to completely overhaul that system and bring our fish mitigations into the 21st century. Though the upgrade must be carried out at a high price tag, North Unit looks forward to taking it on sometime in the near future.


  • Objective 5:

    Lateral 45-2 Piping Project

    In 2020, due to excessive leaking, NUID performed emergency repairs to our 45-2 Siphon.  The siphon consists of approximately 509’ of 24” concrete tile pipe with a box drain 400’ downstream of the inlet.  The existing pipe has a mortar-packed joint every 3 feet.  NUID staff excavated each pipe joint, removed and repacked loose mortar, poured concrete under each pipe section, and coated the entire mortar ring with Aqua-Lastic. Unfortunately, the repairs were ineffective at stopping the leaking.  District staff were able to manage the water during the 2020 irrigation season and performed additional repairs in 2021.  Again, unfortunately, the repairs were not sufficient, and district staff were faced with managing excessive water leaking from this section.

    NUID has recently acquired an OWEB Irrigation Modernization Grant, that will cover the costs of installing approximately 1100’ of new HDPE pipe in this leaky section.  NUID proposes to remove and replace the existing concrete structures (inlet and outlet) and add an additional 579’ of pipe to the overall length.  We believe that completely replacing the aged concrete pipe with DR26 HDPE pipe will not only correct the leaking siphon, but the additional 579’ of pipe will cure other leaks in a dangerous fill bank.

    Objective 5:

  • Objective 6:

    Wickiup Reservoir Ramp Flume

    There is a section of the Deschutes River, which extends from the Wickiup outlet to a distance downstream of Wickiup, which NUID has assessed and is considering for installation of a new rated section and ramp flume measurement site. This project would align perfectly with the District’s conservation goals, as it would make targeted flow rates far easier to pinpoint during the irrigation season. Because the North Unit is responsible for operational control over discharges from Wickiup – which supplies majority of the basin’s irrigation districts – the need for upgrading our discharge infrastructure couldn’t be more clear.

    This project would be akin to what North Unit did just downstream of the Haystack Reservoir (see pics below), with the same goal in mind – precision water operations and resource management. The benefits have been, and would be, clear: sustainability of Deschutes Basin aquatic ecology, and preservation & prolongation of Jefferson County agriculture for future generations.