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Upper Klamath Lake

Upper Klamath Lake shimmers in the sun Friday near Modoc Point.

Modoc Point Irrigation District has received funding from the Oregon Water Resources Commission to study ways to increase its water storage, according to an OWRD news release.

The 6,000-acre district, which has been impacted by droughts and water calls in recent years, has been awarded $26,400 “to evaluate the feasibility of building one or more aboveground reservoirs to store off-season run-off from the Upper Klamath Lake Basin,” the release read.

MPID has been working with the Hood River-based Farmers Conservation Alliance to put together a modernization strategy, intended to serve as a holistic plan to improve the district’s water conservation. The strategy is still in development, and could include things like converting canals to pipes, building reservoirs or bolstering natural infrastructure. The OWRC funding will help the district and FCA determine what aspects of irrigation modernization are feasible.

“The dream is to make an amazing turn-key, top-of the line system that maximizes water savings and minimizes energy use,” said MPID board secretary Mason Terry. “Water loss that we’ve looked at, in certain reaches, has been as much as 25%.”

Terry said the district has also received funds for modernization through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the tune of $500,000.

This year, OWRC awarded nearly $1 million to eight water study projects, to be conducted by conservation districts, irrigation districts and environmental groups throughout the state. The grants are intended to reimburse up to 50% of study costs.

“This competitive funding opportunity helps individuals and communities investigate whether a project is worth pursuing,” the release read.