▶️ Arnold Irrigation District closes gate, cutting off water to hundreds of Bend farmers

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

Rob Rastovich’s family has owned land in Bend since the early 1900s. Rastovich now uses that land to run his business, Barley Beef.

Rastovich uses water from the Arnold Irrigation District to water 40 acres of hay, which helps feed more than 300 cows.

But the district closed its headgate this past Saturday, cutting off water to more than 600 ranchers, farms and other properties in Bend — including Rastovich.

“Inconvenient would be a polite way of saying it — it’s detrimental,” Rastovich said. “There’s 40 acres of hay that we were going to use that we won’t get. We reseeded those fields but now those seeds won’t take. We’ll have to start all over next year.”

The irrigation district is out of water because it was a low year for snowpack and rainfall.

There are emergency water reservoirs, but those can’t be depleted any further, due to various environmental protections.

The district said it might be possible to turn the water back on by mid-September.

Until then, Rastovich will buy water to give to his cattle.

“If next year we have the same type of water we had this last year, water will probably be off by Fourth of July,” Rastovich said. “It will dry up these farms if we have another bad winter, meaning another lack of snow winter. It will dry up these farms.”

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