Crater Lake National Park Coping With Drought

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, July 3 2013 at 5:20 PM, Updated: Wed, July 3 2013 at 5:29 PM

Drought conditions in the Klamath Basin are having an impact at Crater Lake National Park.

Carol Almer of Saint Helens has visited Crater Lake several times, and this is the driest she's seen it...

"I've never seen it...I can't imagine it being this dry, in July."

Low snowfall last winter has led to drought conditions...and shutoffs of water to those that don't have senior water rights.

"Crater Lake's water source is from Annie Creek, which is a tributary to the Wood River."  Explains Kyle Gorman of the Oregon Water Resources Department.  "And just like any other entity, Crater Lake has a priority date, and they are stacked with other priority dates."

While a recent state ruling will keep water flowing to Crater Lake, Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman still has to prepare for the worst...

"If our spring went dry, water would need to be trucked in so we could maintain services to all of the visitors in all of our facilities."

Ackerman adds that the park is also emphasizing water conservation...

"We're going to be installing low flush valves and faucets."

Ackerman notes that diners at the Crater Lake Lodge will only be getting drinking water upon request...

"It actually saves us 600 gallons a day at this park."

Parker Pettus of Boston thinks the conservation message is a good one...

"They have cards in all of the hotel rooms here, which describe ways you can save water - it's a good idea."

While conservation measures and a state ruling will help Crater Lake weather this summer's drought, there will still be some long-term solutions needed.

While the park has some of the purest water in the world, the park can't tap into that source for drinking water - and drilling in the park is not allowed.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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