Smith Rock to Bend

Water has always been a challenge in Central Oregon. Those who came before us carved more than 700 miles of canals out of the dense volcanic rock using horses, shovels and primitive machinery. Today we face our own challenges of upgrading a century-old system to best serve the needs of all patrons for the next 100 years.

The Phase I Smith Rock area provides the greatest opportunity to make significant improvements to all facets of COID’s irrigation system. When piped, the Phase I will immediately conserve 30 cfs while creating operating efficiencies for over 300 patrons and save an additional 30-40 cfs over time.

As part of Central Oregon Irrigation District’s (COID) plans to modernize infrastructure and conserve water, construction of Phase I Year I of the Pilot Butte Canal Piping Project was completed in March 2021. Phase I Year 2 construction will begin in October 2021. Conservation improvements include installing 16,000 feet of steel pipe in four sections between October 2021-March 2022.

Year 2 work will begin near the Prineville Railroad and the North Unit Irrigation District (NUID) Canal, near the north end of NE 41st Street/Ditch Rider Road.

Construction will be broken into sections:


Project Timeline:

January 2019-September 2019: crews surveyed the entire length (25 miles) of the Pilot Butte Canal.

December 2018-December 2019: 30% design for the Pilot Butte Canal.

Winter 2020: 30% Design Open House to share the early project design.

October 2020-February 2021: Construction will occur in phases, beginning with Phase 1 in the Smith Rock area with the installation of the J Lateral Pipe

February 2021-March 2021: Surface restoration and reconstruction

April 2021: Irrigation season start-up

October 2021: Pilot Butte Canal Irrigation shut off

October 2021-March 2022: Completion of Pilot Butte Canal Phase I

Section 1:
North end of NE 41st Street/Ditch
Rider Road to NE 41st Street

Section 2:
NE 41st Street/Ditch Rider Road to NE 33rd Street/Elliot Road

Section 3:
NE 33rd Street/Elliot Road to NE Oneil Highway

Section 4:

NE Oneil Highway to NE 25th Street


What to expect during Phase 1 construction:

  • Crews will begin mobilizing equipment, clearing, and removing vegetation, and preparatory excavation work in late September. Substantial construction work will begin after the irrigation season shut off.
  • Scheduled work hours are Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. with the possibility of extended hours and days depending on work requirements.
  • Blasting notices for affected private properties will be distributed not later than 48 hours prior to blasting. Structures within 300 feet of blasting will be inspected prior to blasting. More information is available upon request and will be provided to affected property owners.
  • All stock runs on the Pilot Butte Canal are canceled due to construction. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

Pilot Butte Canal Watershed Plan & Environmental Impact Statement

YOU ARE INVITED! Please join Central Oregon Irrigation District for an online informal public scoping meeting for improvements being considered to the aging infrastructure of the Pilot Butte Canal System.

The online public meeting will be conducted using Zoom. You can participate in the meeting by computer, tablet, or telephone. A recording will be available here following the October 20, 2021 meeting.