In the community

Longtime Malheur County water manager heading to retirement

Owyhee Irrigation District Manager Jay Chamberlin talks about the importance of irrigation to the valley's agriculture industry. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

NYSSA – Water runs through Jay Chamberlin’s life.

As manager of the Owyhee Irrigation District for more than 20 years, the Nyssa native had a box seat to witness the fickle manner of Mother Nature from floods to drought.

Now Chamberlin stands near the end of a career where he directed the yearly distribution of the area’s lifeblood and he said he is proud of his work.

By next year, Chamberlin said he will step into retirement. He will depart with an encyclopedia-like knowledge of water and irrigation techniques.

“I understand what the value of water is in the desert. It is life. It is the main bloodstream of . . .