Another View on Local Water Issues

I am not a social media user and do not allow comments on this blog as those forms of communication are mostly unproductive. I do get emails with some regularity, however, as my email address can be easily found. Further, if someone takes the time to write I always respond. The majority of emails are complementary, but every now and then I get one that gives me pause. Below is a missive I received yesterday and my response. This is another example of how polarized we are and how much work needs to be done.

The email:

I am 71 and retired in Redmond 10 years ago. I have fished this area for many years. The reservoirs and being drained WAY too much, using BOGUS excuses. A broken valve, spotted frog ect. My theory is that the LEFT (Antifa) is burning our forests and small towns and telling folks to drain the reservoirs, all to create crisis’s so they can get more Global Warming Fed funds. I can not figure any other motive. It is posted that 90% of our fires were human started. PGE stepped up on one like two days later. Portland GE. Image that. They are guaranteed 25% profit no matter what they spend. They say suspicious and never and reason. W/O lightening in two days we had 18 fires in a line from Estacada to Ashland. There has NOT been one dollar reward offered for arsonists. I am not a strange old man. NOW I hear the FED want to protect forests 104,000,000 MILLION acres for the Pine Martin in Oregon and California. Where is the spotted owl? WHAT is next?

Just sharing my thoughts. You are in a better spot to see what is going on….

My response:

Thanks for taking the time to write.  If you have been a resident of Central Oregon for 10 years then you know we have been in a state of drought for that entire time, actually for at least 20 years.  Some years the drought conditions are worse, some years have been better, but we have been in drought the entire time. 

Drought is not just a function of rain and snow you might see in any one year, it is also a function of soil moisture, and we have had exceptionally low soil moisture for a long time.  You need damp soil for any precipitation to make it into the aquifer which replenishes our springs, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.  It will take many years of above average precipitation to return soil moisture content to what used to be thought of as normal levels.  There has simply not been enough flow into our reservoirs to fill them for a few years.

Drought is also the reason why our forests are exceptionally dry and prone to fires.  The western part of the state is most illustrative of this.  Who would have thought that the fires over the past 2 years could have spread so disastrously in areas that have traditionally been so wet?

It is true that more water is being kept in the Upper Deschutes River, but that is only one river and the impacts of the drought can be seen throughout the state where water levels are low everywhere. 

Here is the latest US Drought Monitor map for Oregon.  It is not a pretty picture.  All of Oregon is in a drought, most of it is classified as extreme or exceptional.


Best wishes,