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Drought Persists Despite Recent Rain

2-16 irrigationMEDFORD, Ore. – Despite a few days of rain, board members with the Medford Irrigation District say to prepare for a very tough growing season ahead.

The district hasn’t yet started tapping into its reservoirs at Four Mile Lake and Fish Lake, but they say unless more snow gathers in the mountains they’ll have to do so sooner than normal. Ideally, growers won’t need to start irrigating from reservoirs until early summer. Because this year has been so dry, they could start irrigating as early as April.

Representatives with the irrigation district say if that happens there won’t be enough water to make it through the summer, leaving growers with a difficult choice.

β€œIt’s a little early, but we’re getting to the point where they’re going to have to make a decision whether they think they can plant or they can’t,” said Medford Irrigation District Chairman Tom White.

White says this is the worst year he can remember in more than 20 years serving on the board of the irrigation district.

He says growers should expect tighter than normal rationing of water over the summer.