Irrigation District


swalley irrigation district

On the frontlines of modernization.

Swalley Irrigation District may be the smallest irrigation district in Central Oregon, but it is a big leader when it comes to modernization. Serving 628 patrons and irrigating approximately 4,333 acres through 28 miles of canals, laterals, and pipelines with the most senior water rights in the Deschutes Basin, Swalley has taken huge steps towards completely modernizing its system.

Removing Barriers to Implementation


Working with both the district and key stakeholders, a Modernization Strategy was developed to give Swalley a plan of action for achieving their modernization goals.

Securing Funding

Assisting the district in completing a Watershed Protection Plan enabled Swalley to access $11.2M in federal funding through the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (P.L. 83-566).

Realizing Modernization

In 2019 and 2020, Swalley Irrigation District will pipe the Rogers and the Elder Laterals; both projects have been approved and fully funded. With the completion of piping the Rogers Lateral, Swalley will conserve an additional 1.8 cfs instream in the middle Deschutes. Pending 25% match funding for the federal dollars already committed, Swalley will pipe the remaining miles of its system in the years to come.

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A Collaborative Approach

Swalley uses partnerships and innovation to maintain water resources for both farmers and their community.

While the district faces increasing pressure from urbanization, it is taking the opportunity to build partnerships, create win-win solutions, and put irrigation water to use in an urbanized environment. From 2017 to 2019, Swalley worked in cooperation with partners, such as the Bend-LaPine School District and private developers, to pipe the Riley Lateral and Sublateral. These projects use contemporary irrigation piping technology and state-of-the-art water metering equipment. They also enabled the use of irrigation water, as a greener and cheaper alternative than potable city water, for school ballfields and landscaping, while facilitating the construction of a new road, water, and sewer infrastructure for 16 new homes.

By piping large sections of its main canal (45% of its system), Swalley succeeded in saving and permanently restoring 43 cfs of water, one-third of its water right, to the Deschutes River. Although Swalley is a small district, it completed the largest conserved water transfer project in the State of Oregon to date, greatly improving streamflow, water quality, and habitat for fish and wildlife.

Hardy Road Pipeline

Construction of this project occurred in 2017.

The district by the numbers.

Swalley Irrigation District has the most senior water rights in the Deschutes Basin.


MWh/yr potential energy saved


miles canal converted to pipe


ag land protected


cfs returned in stream

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