MADRAS, OR -- Farmers in the Madras area are being careful about how much water they use this summer. Because of dry conditions, many started irrigating earlier than usual; but, with only a set amount of water available, once it's gone, it's gone.
Mike Britton, General Manager of the North Unit Irrigation District, says farmers are being pro-active. "They'll have to look at their crops and determine how far they can stretch the water they're allotted. They can go out and search for water within the district - maybe a neighbor is fallowing some ground and has some water he can transfer or provide to his neighbor. That's typically how folks get by."
Britton says the district has helped conserve water by lining some irrigation canals and farmers have been aggressive about conserving water for their crops. "The farmers themselves have done a tremendous amount of work on farm efficiencies. A lot of them use sprinklers, pivots and drip tape on some of their crops, which puts water right on the ground at the base of the plant so you don't lose much."
The district serves about 850 farmers across 59,000 acres of farmland in the Madras and Culver area.