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Prineville Reservoir Increasing Outflow Due to Wet Weather

PRINEVILLIE, OR -- More water is getting released from Prineville Reservoir to make room for heavy rains and snow melt. Bruce Scanlon, Ochoco Irrigation District Manager tells KBND News the reservoir reached the flood-control level earlier this week, “We need to increase more space or at least slow down the rate at which we're filling, which is not uncommon with Prineville reservoir. It frequently has in its history had to go through winter flood-control operations.”  He says these operations usually occur in a few months, “It's not an uncommon thing. It's uncommon that we are doing it in January. We typically have flood control operations in the spring in April and May.”

Levels below Bowman Dam won’t be very noticeable, right now.

“But, with the amount of rain and warm temperatures that we are seeing the increase in inflows could be significant. And so, we are really just preparing ourselves for a ‘what if?’ scenario”, Scanlon says the water can’t be stored for irrigation season and must be released because it reached flood-control levels, “We're kind of gambling on the fact that we're going to continue to get some additional flows into the facility in February, March and April when we normally would. If we could fill the facility during the winter and keep it full, that would be great. But we can't safely do that because the potential for spring runoff is significant on the Crooked basin. It's a whole different system than say, for example, on the Deschutes.”

The Crook County Sheriff's Office put out a notice Thursday about increasing water in Prineville Reservoir, and a resulting minimal impact to the level on the Crooked River below Bowman Dam as water is released. The OID is watching weather forecasts to determine if they’ll need to keep the outflow higher to avoid reaching flood levels.


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