The Talent Irrigation District is a canal system that brings water from Jackson County reservoirs to the famous orchards and vineyards of Rogue Valley. Helicopters used water from the same tanks to stop the Almeda fire last year. âTIDâ water is channeled to irrigators in Ashland, Talent and Phoenix.
But for the next two weeks, the system will not work due to the need to keep a declining supply.
âIt’s the worst year I can remember,â said Mike Winters, president of the Talent Irrigation District. âWhen the system is full, we have about three years of water supply where we can experience consecutive droughts for three years. But we’ve steadily fallen, steadily hit that savings account and at this point we’re hitting rock bottom. “
Winters says very little water from snowmelt has been stored at Howard Prairie Lake, Hyatt Lake and Emigrant Lake this year, due to the parched soil from last year’s drought. As of June 14, these reservoirs were at 7%, 19% and 24% respectively.
âWe have real problems now. If we don’t have a good winter – lots of rain, good snowfall etc. – we’ll have a real problem next year, âsays Winters.
The irrigation system will be closed until June 29. Water managers hope that conserving their remaining water will help growers get through the hottest part of summer.