The Walla Walla River Irrigation District was formed in 1995 in order to consolidate the operations of 5 local irrigation districts; the Eastside Ditch Company, the Milton Ditch Company, the Little Walla Walla River Irrigation Union, the Powell Ditch Company and the Pleasantview Ditch Company.
The Walla Walla River Irrigation District patrons have some of the oldest water rights in the state of Oregon, some dating back to the late 1860's. The approximately 3,500 acres served by the Walla Walla River Irrigation District is some of the most productive, valuable crop land in the state of Oregon. The primary crops grown in the District include apples, cherries, prunes and wine grapes.
The Walla Walla River is home to Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed bull trout and steelhead. In 2000, the Walla Walla River Irrigation District, along with the Hudson Bay District Improvement Company and the Gardena Farms Irrigation District #13, entered into a Civil Penalty Settlement Agreement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Services to avoid litigation for alleged "take" of listed species in the Walla Walla River. The Agreement with the Services requires that the Walla Walla River Irrigation District leave one third of their patron's total water rights instream in order to provide water for fish. The Walla Walla River Irrigation District has worked in close cooperation with its patrons, other irrigation districts, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council, the Walla Walla Watershed Alliance, Walla Walla County Watershed Planning and other local cooperators to complete projects to make the Walla Walla River Irrigation District more efficient in delivering and applying water. The water we save through water conservation measures is put instream to benefit fish.
The goals of the Walla Walla River Irrigation District are to ensure that agriculture is a viable option for future generations in Milton-Freewater, protect our local economy and continue to be responsible environmental stewards of our natural resources in a way that protects both farmers and fish.