Lakes Dry Up as Lack of Rain Continues

APPLEGATE, Ore. — It’s the driest year on record for most of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Lakes and rivers in the area are drying up, and there is no help in sight.

The Applegate Reservoir is usually filled to the brim with water, but right now it’s nothing more than a muddy desert.

“We’re praying for water. We’re praying for rain. It’s really, really low,” said Applegate Reservoir visitor Bear Perrin.

Perrin uses the lake year-round, and he said he’s never seen it this low.

“We’ve seen it pretty low but not low enough to go past the boat ramps,” said Perrin.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the Applegate Reservoir is 22 feet below its normal water levels for this time of year.

Officials said the region has less than a quarter of precipitation it should have this time of year, and this lack of rain and snow will impact Southern Oregon and Northern California.

“Things can turn around, but when we are this far in the hole it would take substantial storm after storm to  bring us back up to where we’d like to be,” said Jim Buck, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Operation Project Manager.

Buck said snowpack is extremely important because without it there will be little or no runoff in the summer. That means streams instead of rivers, and ponds instead of lakes.  However, right now there is nothing anyone can do but cross their fingers and hope for the best.

“I’m praying, ‘Please, God. Please.’…It will be a tough summer, but I think we are going to get it,” said Perrin.

The last time the Rogue Valley saw a drought was back in 2001, and it looks like there could possibly one on the horizon for 2014.

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