Agriculture | Water | Local

Oregon Reservoirs Low Heading Into Irrigation Season

OPB | April 3, 2013 4:19 p.m. | Updated: April 3, 2013 6:59 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Some Oregon farmers could have a difficult time finding water for their crops this summer.  That’s according to the state’s Water Resources Department.  With the spring irrigation season about to begin, state reservoirs hold only half their normal amount of water. 

Barry Norris the state engineer for the Oregon Water Resources Department. He says the way things stand now, most reservoirs won’t be able to fully meet the needs of irrigators through the growing season. 

Making matters worse, the Oregon snowpack, which Norris calls the state’s largest reservoir, is also below normal.  

Norris says snowpack in the Malheur Basin is only at 26% of normal.

“We’re going to have a short water year this year, unless we have a very wet spring and summer like has happened in the past.  But conditions now are well below normal,” said Norris.

Norris sits on a subcommittee of Oregon’s Drought Council.  That’s a standing panel run by Oregon Emergency Management.  

The subcommittee will meet next week in Salem to assess the latest conditions throughout the state.







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