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Army Corps warns of challenging water year ahead in Willamette Valley

Fall Creek Reservoir
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Fall Creek Dam's reservoir is currently 8% full, as of April 21 (photo from earlier in the month).

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says 2022 could be another challenging water year in the Willamette Valley.

The Corps says its 13 reservoirs in the valley are about one-third emptier than they should be at this time of year. It comes after a relatively dry first three months of the year.

Things turned a corner in April, which was fairly rainy, said Erik Peterson, operations manager for the Willamette Valley Project. But he said the northern part of the valley got more rain than the southern part.

“Our biggest storage reservoirs are in the south," said Peterson. "So that has bearing on the availability of water for the system.”

Peterson said the lower water levels will likely impact water quality for fish, as well as recreation opportunities, later in the summer.

He spoke during an online Q&A session Thursday.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”