BEND, OR -- Irrigation districts are carefully watching river flows in the Deschutes, as they schedule stock runs for ranchers to refill ponds. Kyle Gorman, Regional Manager of Oregon’s Water Resources Department, tells KBND News current flows are right were they should be, although the Deschutes is lower than it was a year ago. "The lingering drought conditions that we had, stream flows were low and it hasn’t picked up yet, because it hasn’t really received the moisture and recharge yet. And then, the outflow from Wickiup Reservoir is held to the minimum for this year, for the storage in Wickiup Reservoir to try and maximize storage before this irrigation season."
Gorman says last year's flows were higher last year because most winter precipitation came in the form of rain, which became immediate runoff. "The level that it’s at right now, is very common to see after a very dry year, or consecutive dry years. The outflow now is around 23 cfs (cubic feet per second), that’s what it was last year. The big difference is the outflow out of Wickiup is about the same but the Little Deschutes was seeing that immediate runoff, where this year it’s yet to come." This year’s snowpack is much stronger, which he says is the best way to plan for the coming irrigation season, but keeps the river lower in the winter months.