Editorial: More Bridge Creek pollution

The credibility of the opponents and supporters of Bend’s Bridge Creek water project rests on accurate information. There’s been another dose of the misleading. This time it’s from Central Oregon LandWatch.

In a recent email, Central Oregon LandWatch argues that the city could double its annual take of water from Tumalo Creek, if the project goes ahead. But it could also be true if the city does not go ahead with the project.

First of all, the city currently has a permit to take 18.2 cubic feet per second from its intake on Bridge Creek.

That does not change with the city’s new project. The city is not asking to take more than that.

Today, the Bend City Council is going to hold a special council meeting, apparently to make a public statement to emphasize that point.

Second, right now the city cannot do any fine tuning at its intake at Bridge Creek. It’s 18.2 cfs or it’s 0 cfs. The valve is either on or off.

The new design includes a control valve. The city will be able to modulate what it takes according to demand. That can be much better for the creek.

The real drain on Tumalo Creek is also not what the city is doing. It is the water rights of the Tumalo Irrigation District. The district can take as much as 200 cfs.

Of course, the city has not been immune to producing misleading information of its own about Bridge Creek. It grossly mischaracterized the project in 2011, maintaining that it would not affect Tumalo Falls.

But, yes, the project does impact Tumalo Creek, because the city diverts water from a Tumalo Creek tributary above the falls. The city clarified what was going on after opponents pointed out the glaring inconsistency.

Is it too much to ask that the opponents now do the same? Or is misleading good enough if it persuades people?