Last month, the state’s Water Resources Department approved a transfer of 3,750 acre-feet of water from the Wood River and Crooked Creek in the Upper Klamath Basin to the Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge for five years.
Agriculture has suffered from wildfires, ice storms, extreme heat and severe drought over the past year, exposing “gaps” in USDA assistance that’s generally designed for major commodity crops, experts say.
As drought ravages the West, the districts with century-old water claims are first in line for the scarce resource while others nearby with more recent claims have already run out.
The restoration includes placing logs and downed trees into strategic locations of the Metolius near Camp Sherman for fish to use as cover and spawning areas.
Deer Creek has run dry after several illegal marijuana grows cropped up in the neighborhood last spring, stealing water from both the stream and nearby aquifers and throwing Dwyer’s future in doubt.
Cracked dirt lines empty irrigation canals, and dust devils and tumbleweeds punctuate a landscape in shades of brown.
That is, he actually grows the ingredients he uses to produce the beer sold at his tap house. That’s a challenge for any brewer, but it has become especially hard with drought ravaging his wheat and barley fields.
The stark contrast between the haves and have-nots two hours southeast of Portland has brought new urgency to efforts to share water. Proposals to create “water banks” or “water markets” would allow farmers with excess supply to lease it to those in need.
People at the meeting want to change the Habitat Conservation Plan which outlines how water in the Deschutes Basin gets shared between irrigators and threatened or endangered species.