Project History

Project History

North Fork of Little Butte Creek
North Fork of Little Butte Creek

There are several regional water supply issues that pose threats to the Bear Creek and Little Butte Creek watersheds:

  • High water loss to Irrigation District customers and water users due to an aging and increasingly inefficient water delivery infrastructure.
  • Water scarcity due to full appropriation, if not over-appropriation, of water in Bear Creek and Little Butte Creek, which threatens the reliability of the irrigation water supply for Talent Irrigation District, Medford Irrigation District, and Rogue River Valley Irrigation District.
  • Degraded water quality and water quantity for anadromous salmonids and other species.
  • Potential water quality and reliability issues for Medford municipal water customers due to degraded water quality at the Robert Duff Water Treatment Facility on the Rogue River during summer months.
  • High temperature discharges to the Rogue River from the Medford Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
  • Decreased aesthetic and recreation values due to increasing stream and river withdrawals and decreasing reservoir levels.

In the late 1990s, a diverse group of local leaders and stakeholders came together to respond to these issues. Their efforts to create a stable, long-term water supply system for the Rogue Valley have evolved into the proposed water management program known as the WISE Project.