PRINEVILLE, OR -- Without any precipitation in the forecast, hot and dry conditions continue to reduce local water supplies. The Powder House Cove boat ramp at Prineville Reservoir closed at 8 a.m. Tuesday because low water levels are making it unsafe to launch trailered boats; it's expected to stay closed for the year. Kayaks and other small craft can still use the cove boat ramp and two others remain open for trailered boats: Prineville Reservoir State Park day-use area and Jasper Point day-use area. The ramp at Jasper Point closes August first, but the state park ramp should be open the rest of the year.
Oregon water Resources Department regional manager Kyle Gorman says Prineville Reservoir is suffering the most, this season, "The reservoir did not fill this year, so it started out almost 30,000 acre feet below full. The demand on that reservoir is very consistent with historic use, but starting out at the lower contents means, of course, through the summer, you will see or experience lower amounts than average in that reservoir."
But, after a mild winter with limited snowpack and a dry spring and summer, Gorman says Prineville is not the only local reservoir with low levels, "Take a look at the reservoirs where the people are used to the average reservoir contents, and seeing some below average, they might be thinking, 'This is going to limit my recreation abilities.' But," he tells KBND News, "I think, for the most part, we're not at critically low levels yet. And, it's still a fairly good supply of water in the majority of the reservoirs, so that recreation component might be limited to a degree; but it's not to the point where it's not usable." And, he calls one location a "shining bright spot." Gorman says, "Crescent Lake has been well above average the last several years and still remains above average, so we like to look at that as a bright spot in the basin."
With careful water management, Gorman says there will be plenty of water to last the season.
Until the rains come, he says there are things residents can do to save water, "Wise and careful management [are] critical to extend those supplies throughout the remainder of the summer, so we're, as water managers, and the Irrigation Districts, sending out information in the newsletters for ideas for water saving, careful water management, and that'll be key for the remainder of the summer."