Swalley envisions a fully modernized system that includes converting all of their open canals and ditches to underground pipe and operating green, in-conduit hydropower. Like most irrigation districts, Swalley currently faces increasing demands on a limited water supply and aging infrastructure that is highly inefficient.
Through strong partnerships and ingenious investments, Swalley has already begun to realize their carbon-neutral vision. By piping 36% of their canals and laterals, they have been able to return 9.2 billion gallons to the Deschutes River each year. And their hydropower facility generates 2,300,000 kilowatt hours annually, providing revenue to pay off their investments and set the stage for future projects.
Achieving full modernization for Swalley would yield extraordinary benefits for both agriculture and the environment. All farms in the Swalley district would receive reliable, pressurized water, allowing them to convert to high-efficiency sprinklers and drastically reducing pumping costs. And the district would be able to eliminate seepage and evaporation in the system and return more water back in stream for fish, habitat and recreation.
To move forward, Swalley needs visionary partners who look beyond traditional boundaries to invest in and realize the benefits of a modern district.
Through the Irrigation Modernization Program, FCA is working with Swalley to develop a comprehensive strategy to complete the modernization of their district. Current support includes the development of funding, communications, and strategic partnership plans.
FCA has completed the technical assessment phase of Swalley’s modernization strategy. GIS mapping, LiDAR data and hydraulic modeling have revealed opportunities to install high-density polyethylene pipe, provide pressurized water to farmers and reduce energy use. In parallel, SID, FCA and partners like the Deschutes River Conservancy are exploring funding strategies and identifying how SID can work with other community members to achieve their goals.