Water releases from Prineville Reservoir will be decreased significantly starting next Wednesday.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the current flow rate of 180 cubic feet per second (cfs) will drop to approximately 10 cfs starting September 14. The move is being made as downstream irrigation demands decrease.
The Bureau said the public should expect much lower-than-normal water levels in the Crooked River. That may impact recreational activities and wildlife.
“The Crooked River Basin is in the midst of a multi-year drought conditions and received one of the lowest snowpack on record this season. This resulted in limited fill of the reservoir this spring and the low reservoir levels that we’re seeing right now,” said Peter Cooper, a civil engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation.
Prineville Reservoir is currently at 12% full, according to the Bureau. That’s the lowest level on record. Once the flow of water is reduced, the reservoir level is expected to stabilize at 11% full. Water release flows are expected to go back up by November 1.
The dam was primarily built for irrigation and flood control.
Central Oregon Daily’s Brooke Snavely recently highlighted how high temperatures and the low level of the Prineville Reservoir could endanger Crooked River fish. Watch his story below.