Water is flowing in some irrigation canals around Central Oregon, but that doesn’t mean the drought is over.
Some of the water is heading to Haystack Reservoir. Other water deliveries — called stock runs — are also taking place.
This week, water is flowing in the North Unit Main Canal from Bend to Haystack Reservoir in Jefferson County.
We reported last fall on repairs to control gates inside Haystack Dam which required draining the reservoir.
Those repairs were completed in January and now the North Unit Irrigation District is beginning to refill the reservoir.
“We performed some maintenance on the gate. Now we are filling Haystack back up and that’s the water you see today,” said Mike Britton, North Unit Irrigation District Executive Manager. “We are filling Haystack back up getting it ready for next irrigation season.”
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Next Tuesday, a different canal is scheduled to deliver water to farmers and ranchers so they can water their livestock. These water deliveries are known as stock runs.
“What farmers do in the meantime, if we are not able to deliver, is they will use wells to fill stock tanks or they will have water brought in by water trucks and pay for that,” said Craig Horrell, Central Oregon Irrigation District Executive Director.
The drought is limiting the amount of water the North Unit and Central Oregon irrigation districts can draw from the Deschutes River. That means the water will flow slowly through the canals.
It’s expected to take 48 hours for the water to reach and begin refilling Haystack Reservoir.
Fireman’s Pond in Redmond isn’t a stock pond in the classic sense, but the same thing happens there. If not occasionally refilled, the water percolates out or evaporates. The pond can go dry unless it is refilled with a stock run.