Talk Of Drought Quiet This Year Among Oregon Farmers

Apr 10, 2016

State water supply levels have Oregon farmers optimistic this year. Last April, mountain snowpack and reservoir levels were much lower than average. This year, talk of drought is somewhat quiet.

Irrigation near Hermiston transforms desert into prime farmland. This water is pumped from the Columbia River.
Credit Jamie Francis/The OregonianPivot

The U.S. Drought Monitor says there are no longer any areas of extreme drought in Oregon. The worst case scenario would be a warm spring causing snowpack to melt faster. State water levels are adequate for irrigation purposes right now after heavy rainfall in January and February. About 8 percent of the state, primarily in the southeast, remains in extreme drought conditions. Oregon Department of Agriculture Specialist Margaret Matter says even though conditions have improved, things could be worse by the end of the summer.

Matter: “When it all shakes out, streamflows may not be quite as high as we had predicted just because the sub-surface and groundwater are so depleted after so many years of dry condition. There just has not been the natural recharge.”

Matter says stream-flow output seems to be looking at or above normal, but not in all areas. The Klamath and Umatilla areas have reported lower levels.

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