Arnold Canal

A small section of an Arnold Irrigation District concrete-lined canal near Bend. 

The questions from Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair about the Arnold Irrigation District’s canal project come up about canal piping projects again and again.

They always cost a lot of money. Piping is expensive. It’s the most expensive way to save water in irrigation.

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(4) comments


Do open irrigation canals in urban areas create a public safety hazard? Wouldn’t piping virtually eliminate this risk?


I’ll bet that the vast majority of readers would agree that water conservation is going to become more and more important with every passing decade. The idea is easy to support. I know I do. But if we re-framed the question this way, the answer becomes a little less obvious: Should the government or a governmental entity be allowed to take 20% of a family’s most valuable asset without compensation? Should those families be forced to bear the cost of providing relief to farmers in other parts of the region? I know many will respond to these questions by pointing out that there was a canal easement in place long before there were neighborhoods around the canal. This is true. However, the easement is for a canal. No one was piping over a quarter century ago when these neighborhoods were established. What if there were an option short of piping, something like lining the canal, that would accomplish many of the same goals without inflicting economic damage on the homeowners? Wouldn’t that be worth pursuing? The study commissioned by the Arnold Irrigation District says “no”. It’s worth noting, however, that the study was performed by the company selling Arnold Irrigation District the pipe. None of this is to suggest that conservation isn’t a critical need but hopefully we can also agree that a solution should be equitable to everyone affected.


I wonder if we were to mandate that ALL of the canals in Bend and the surrounding areas be piped, then would it change how people vote in this poll.


I wonder if we mandated that we pipe all the canals in Bend and the surrounding area would it change people’s vote to support.

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