Arnold Irrigation District flume (copy)

Water flows through a section of the Arnold Irrigation District flume near Lava Island Falls on the Deschutes River in July 2021.

Steve Johnson, the former head of Central Oregon Irrigation District, has been hired for the position of general manager of Arnold Irrigation District.

Johnson replaces Colin Wills, who held the position for over two years. Wills will continue to work with the district until Oct. 20 to assist in the transition.

Johnson is no stranger to the irrigation world. From 2003 to 2014 he was general manager for Central Oregon Irrigation District. He has also worked in management for G5 and Navis, both in Bend.

Johnson takes over at a challenging time for irrigators. This year, due to severe drought and other factors, Arnold Irrigation District patrons were receiving just 30% of the water they see in a normal year.

For two straight years Arnold, the third smallest of the eight irrigation districts in Central Oregon, has had to shut off water early in the irrigation season due to shortages. Last year the district shut off water deliveries on Aug. 15 and this year it turned off on July 31.

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