Water | Ecotrope

Central Oregon stocks up on water (just in case)

Ecotrope | Sept. 7, 2010 3:01 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:46 p.m.

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Water managers in central Oregon are planning to stock up this winter, in case there isn't enough snowpack to replenish the Wickiup Reservoir.

Water managers in central Oregon are planning to stock up this winter, in case there isn't enough snowpack to replenish the Wickiup Reservoir.

A refreshing, forward-looking story in The Bend Bulletin got me thinking about planning for water storage and use.

Too often, we hear about water shortages when they’ve hit the crisis level or are headed inevitably toward that conclusion. In this story, irrigation managers are eying the low levels in central Oregon’s Wickiup Reservoir with next year in mind.

The reservoir is less than a quarter full - and it’s at about half the level it was this time last year - in part because of smaller-than-normal snowpack last winter.

Nobody knows for sure what this winter will bring (lots of snowpack=good for water storage), so they’re planning minimal water releases into the Deschutes River to keep the reservoir stocked.

Is this a good thing? It seems like sound planning for reservoir users. Will it mean bad news for the Deschutes? This story didn’t say.

But like energy conservation, water conservation and storage, along with scrupulous accounting of its usage, could be the low-hanging fruit in alleviating shortages.

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