Oregon’s drought expanding impact

Clean Water Services will tap Henry Hagg Lake; reservoirs in Central Oregon reach lows not seen for decades.

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Clean Water Services will tap Henry Hagg Lake, while reservoirs in Central Oregon reach lows not seen for decades.

Tapping the lake to bolster flows in the Tualatin River isn’t unprecedented, but it’s rare.

“It’s a pretty unique arrangement,” said Tom VanderPlaat, Clean Water Services’ water supply project manager. “But with the lack of rain we’ve had, we didn’t really have any other choice.”

The only other time the agency was forced to buy water was in 2000, he said, when only 13 inches of rain fell over the winter. In the past six months, by comparison, only 5.01 inches have fallen, VanderPlaat said. That’s less than half of the 10.51 inches expected in a normal year.

This year started on a dry note for Clean Water Services, which began releasing water from Hagg Lake in June, a full month earlier than usual. In fact, it marked the earliest release in more than two decades.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)

Meanwhile, the Wickiup Reservoir and Prineville reservoirs are struggling in the face of consecutive years of low snowpacks.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the 200,000-acre-foot reservoir was 9 percent full, according to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data. An acre-foot is enough water to submerge an acre of land a foot deep in water, or 325,851 gallons. Typically, this time of year Wickiup is about 32 percent full.

“There was just lower than natural flows (into Wickiup this year),” Kyle Gorman, region manager for the Oregon Water Resources Department in Bend, said Tuesday.]

(SOURCE: Bend Bulletin)

The Prineville reservoir is at 30 percent of its capacity.

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