water rights

Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID) has a history of irrigation water rights dating back to 1884. A water right from Trout Creek through the "Thomas Ditch" for irrigation of 40 acres is MFID's oldest water right. Successive water rights were claimed in the 1890's on Trout Creek, Evans Creek and the East Fork of the Middle Fork Hood River (Eliot Branch). In the early 1900’s rights were acquired on Rogers Creek, Wishart Creek and Griswell Creek. A water right for 75 cfs from the Middle Fork of the Middle Fork Hood River (Coe Branch) was filed on November 19, 1906, however; the Coe Branch right was abandoned as a source of appropriation in 1969 when Clear Branch Reservoir was completed and pressurized pipelines were installed. (This was due to the amount of abrasive glacier silt in the water.) In the 1960's, rights were acquired on Clear Creek, Emil Creek and the Clear Branch Reservoir (Laurance Lake). Additional water rights were acquired on Coe Branch in 1985 and 1987. As these water rights were acquired on Clear Branch reservoir and Coe Creek, older water rights were abandoned. Today, MFID is one of the most efficient irrigation districts in the United States.

Five subwatersheds - Evans, Trout, Emil, Knight and Wishart Creeks of the East Fork Hood River and five subwatersheds - Clear Branch, Coe Branch, Eliot Branch, Pinnacle Creek and Rogers Creek of the Middle Fork Hood River, supply water to the MFID. Fall through spring runoff water from Clear Branch and Pinnacle Creek is stored in Laurance Lake behind Clear Branch Dam. MFID operates an “on-demand” supply and distribution system. Water users opening and closing field turnout valves determine district flow rates and volume. District staff continuously monitor flow rates and pressure and adjust where needed.

In the Hood River Valley, by a court ruling made in 1921, each acre of irrigable land (with a water right) is entitled to one-half (1/2) of a miner’s inch or 1/80th of a cubic foot per second. This is called the “duty of water” and varies from place to place throughout the state. The court decision in 1921 put two other restrictions on the use of water for irrigation. One is the length of irrigation season. In Hood River water can be diverted for irrigation from April 15th to September 30th of each year. The other restriction is that no more than three acre-feet of water (977,550 gallons) may be applied to each acre for irrigation purposes during the irrigation season. (Note: the amount of water delivered to a landowner is usually less than the amount of the water right.) Irrigation districts are allowed to divert 5.6 gallons per minute (gpm) per acre.

How to Calculate your water rights and stay within them

Each irrigator should know his water allotment. To figure this, multiply your water right acres times 5.6 gpm. (e.g. 0.30 acres x 5.6 = 1.68 gpm allotment). You should also know how much water your using. You can measure what your sprinklers are putting out by using a five gallon bucket. Hold your sprinkler so that it empties into the bucket and time how long it takes to fill it. (e.g. two minutes to fill the five gallon bucket means your sprinkler head is putting out 2.5 gpm.) Multiply the gpm value for one sprinkler times the number of sprinklers you are running and you will know your usage per time period. Using the example above, running one sprinkler that fills a 5 gal bucket in 2 minutes would be over watering. Consider purchasing high efficiency, low flow sprinklers called micro sprinklers. These come in a variety of styles and ranges of water outputs. Micro sprinklers put out between .15 and .42 gpm and generally reach 9 to 12 feet. A micro sprinkler with a 12 gallon per hour output would discharge .20 gpm.

 Middle Fork Irrigation District,    8235 Clear Creek Rd.,    PO Box 291,     Parkdale, Oregon     97041   
class="style7">Phone:  541.352.6468       FAX: 541.352.7794       Email: mfid@mfidp.com                 web counter