Introduction by East Fork Board Member Brian Nakamura
John Buckley has spent 41 years ensuring water reliability for the East Fork Irrigation District. This past winter the district broke ground on a project to pipe and pressurize 56 miles of open-ditch irrigation canals. Modernizing their irrigation infrastructure will conserve water, reduce energy use, improve reliability, increase public safety, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat in the Hood River watershed. The project is also pioneering the approach of co-locating conduit in anticipation of future utility needs.
A significant barrier to improving telecommunications and energy infrastructure in rural areas has been the expense associated with siting, right-of-way, engineering, permitting, and installation. Pipeline projects being planned to improve water availability for farmers and fish already cover most of these costs, making the co-location of fiber optic and electric distribution lines more feasible and cost-effective.
Introduction by FCA Dir. Of Energy Solutions Jed Jorgensen
Energy Trust of Oregon has supported FCA’s Irrigation Modernization Program since 2015, leveraging over $150 million in state and federal investment to support modernization projects across 14 Oregon counties. Peter West saw early on how modernizing irrigation districts through piping and in-conduit hydropower could conserve water for fish and agriculture while also generating money for farmers and irrigation districts to spend in their local economies. See how the impact of those early investments continues to be the catalyst for turning visions into reality.