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From the Central Oregon Farm Fair, held February 3 2016, we hear better news (finally) about the drought in Central Oregon. According to Deschutes Basin Watermaster Jeremy Griffin, the average basinwide snowpack is at 120 percent of normal. That good news comes with a caveat, however.
“We’re two to three years into a drought,” he reported. “And even though the snow is good, it takes a long time to refill the aquifer.” He explained it will take two years to see results from this year’s heavier snow.
What this means is that Wickiup will not fill this year, but it will certainly be in better shape than last year. “It will top off at at 175,000 acre feet,” Griffin explained. At full capacity, Wickiup covers about 200,000 acre feet. At the height of last summer’s dry days, the reservoir was down to just 16,400 acre feet.
As of February 3, Griffin noted that Wickiup was back to being 68 percent full–a remarkable turnaround thanks to plenty of rain this winter.