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    The first irrigation water supply for lands within the District's area was obtained from Bear Creek and its tributaries. Fish Lake Water Company was organized in 1897 to bring water into the valley from outside sources. Water rights were obtained on Little Butte Creek and a storage dam at Fish Lake and canals from the North and South Forks of Little Butte Creek were constructed. Delivery of water from these sources began in 1902.

    The Fish Lake Ditch Company sold its interests to the Public Water Company in 1908 and this organization operated the system under various names until 1930. Enlargements were made to the system in 1908 and again in 1915 and 1916, but they were inadequate to furnish and deliver the necessary supply of water. The Medford Irrigation District was formed in 1917 with the objective of developing new sources of water to provide a supply to lands not previously irrigated. The District contracted with the Rogue River Valley Canal Company (not to be confused with Rogue River Valley Irrigation District), successors to the Public Water Company; to construct Fourmile Lake Dam and the Cascade Canal, reconstruct Fish Lake Dam, and complete the distribution system within the District.

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