Low snowpack could spell dry, difficult summer for farmers

According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the amount of water from snow that's fallen in Oregon is currently 45% percent of normal statewide with the Willamette Basin measuring 26%

Posted: Jan 5, 2020 4:19 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2020 11:18 AM

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. -- A low snowpack across the state could make a dry and difficult summer for farmers and ranchers.

Farmer Bart Edwards said he's getting ready for the spring to plant grass and vegetable seed for the 2020 season but is worried there may not be enough water for irrigation to go around during the hot summer months.

"It might be a little early, but I'm concerned, yes," Edwards said.

According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the amount of water from snow that's fallen in Oregon is currently 45% percent of normal statewide with the Willamette Basin measuring 26%.

"What we got to watch is Fern Ridge Reservoir to make sure that gets full because a lot of that water gets allocated to irrigation downstream," Edwards said.

But as 2019 showed us, things can turn around quickly. The state's snowpack was near 40% of normal around this time last year and February storms that dropped feet after feet snow turned things around.

"It's a long way till March, so it's going to be an interesting finish I guess is the way to put it," Edwards said.

While Edwards is hoping for more snow in the mountains, he's hoping it doesn't lead to flooding as it did to his farm last year.

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