Since 1899, Swalley has been a responsible steward to one of our most precious natural resources. Water. Read on....
Since the late 1800s, Central Oregon has transformed from sparsely populated high desert to a region hosting one of the fastest growing cities in the western United States. Since 1899, Swalley has provided water to approximately 4,333 acres in and around the City of Bend (which was not incorporated until later in 1905). Since the early 2000s the city’s boundaries have increasingly overlapped Swalley's. The District’s mission is to support ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable agriculture, recreation, industry, and lifestyles through providing renewable energy and irrigation service for the common good. The District's contemporary primary objectives are to continually modernize and protect its infrastructure and water rights in the face of an urbanizing environment such that water is able to be managed in the most efficient and sustainable manner possible during the next 100+ years.
Swalley holds the oldest, most senior water rights on the Deschutes River. And, despite being one of Oregon's smaller Irrigation Disricts, Swalley has made some of the largest contributions back to the river vis a vis conserved water. Over 1/3 of the Swalley water right has been permanently dedicated back in-stream as a result of piping projects and modernization.
Developed by hardy pioneers, Swalley was originally organized as the Deschutes Reclamation and Irrigation Company (DRIC) in 1899. Much of the city of Bend (before it was a city) was originally a part of the boundaries of the DRIC, settled under the federal "Carey Act" and the Right-of-Way Act of 1891. The original Swalley homestead site still exists today, located on Swalley Road in between Tumalo and Redmond.
DRIC was privately held for 95 years, and in 1994 shareholders voted to incorporate as a public, municipal corporation -- an ORS 545 irrigation district, and took the name of Swalley Irrigation District.
The district is in the process of documenting its history back to 1899 and will post additional items as the work progresses. We will also strive to post information pertaining to our future modernization plans and our respective efforts to keep the progressive, pioneer spirit alive.