This 1967 photo shows a
33-inch pipeline being installed on the Tualatin Project in Oregon's
Willamette Valley. This project, authorized by Congress in 1966, was the
last Bureau of Reclamation project authorized in the Pacific Northwest.
(Note: There have been later re-authorizations for Projects in the region.)
It is the only Reclamation Project in the Willamette Valley.
Known as the "Twality
Plains" in the pioneer era, the area was one of the earliest farming
settlements in Oregon. Agriculture developed quickly. From a small beginning
in the 1930's, irrigation increased substantially. By the late 1950s, only
about 6,000 acres of the Tualatin Basin were inadequately irrigated.
However, flooding and
draining problems had been a source of concern since the early settlement
days. Reclamation began studies in the area in 1948 and, followed by
locally-held meetings to formulate the type of irrigation development best
suited to the area. A report in 1956 analyzed storage at the site of
present-day Scoggins Reservoir, but following review of this report, it
became apparent there was a greater need for municipal and industrial water
than originally anticipated. A feasibility report issued in1963 identified
irrigation water for 17,000 acres of land, 14,000 acre-feet of municipal and
industrial water, and water for fish and wildlife, recreation, quality
control, and flood control benefits. On the basis of this plan, the project
was authorized in 1966.
The principal features
of the Tualatin Project include Scoggins Dam, Henry Hagg Lake, Patton Valley
Pumping Plant, Spring Hill Pumping Plant, and more than 120
miles of a piped distribution system.
Scoggins Dam, Henry
Hagg Lake, and related recreation facilities were initially operated and
maintained by the Bureau of Reclamation. However, the Tualatin Valley
Irrigation District is now responsible for the operation and maintenance of
Scoggins Dam and Patton Valley and Spring Hill pumping plants. The
recreation facilities are operated and maintained by Washington County.
The Patton Valley Plant is
located on Scoggins Creek and provides water for the Patton Valley area and
upper Tualatin River. The Springhill Pump Plant has four 350 HP pumps and
five 1500 HP pumps which withdraw water from the Tualatin River for
distribution through the North, East and West pipelines. Water is delivered
via the Tualatin River for irrigators who pump directly from the river. TVID personnel routinely
inspect and maintain miles of pipeline checking for damage or leaks. Field
technicians also routinely inspect flow meters to assure accurate
measurement of water use is recorded.
In 1999, water
managers in Washington County completed the Integrated Water Resources
Management strategy, a framework for water users and resource managers to
meet shared objectives even though their needs and issues vary widely. They
agreed the top priority was water supply. The near-drought conditions of
2001 underscored this need, and the managers embarked on a two-year
technical evaluation of options to meet water demands through the year 2050.
This study, which began in October 2001, will continue for 18 months to two
years. Upon completion of the study, a decision will be made whether to