The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released its Oregon Water Supply Outlook Report and, after several dry summers, most of Central Oregon is fairing better than some may expect.
“Central Oregon is fairing a little bit better than our sites along the the Cascade crest. So we certainly hope to see those conditions improve,” said Matt Warbritton, lead hydrologist with the NRCS.
While most of Central Oregon is seeing “almost normal” to “normal” precipitation and snowpack conditions, Crook County is below the curve.
“Crook County has been the focal point of persistent long term exceptional drought in the state. Exceptional drought is the highest drought category,” said Warbritton.
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The NRCS says snowpack conditions in the county are trending upward for the time being, helping alleviate some of the more severe drought conditions. However, it will still take years for water levels like those in the Prineville Reservoir to rise back to normal.
“Recovering from drought, it’s a multi-year thing,” Warbritton said. “It’s not just one year and everything’s fine again. Especially in an area like Crook County. It takes multiple years of above normal snowpack. And also, normal to above-normal precipitation conditions. And so far that has been quite variable.”
Crook County will hold a special public meeting at the county courthouse Thursday at 1:30 p.m.. The meeting will address the drought conditions, including declaring a local drought emergency, and urging Governor Tina Kotek to declare a state of emergency in the midst of the conditions.