Irrigation water to be shut off for weeks in Gold Hill & Rogue River

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Wed, August 6 2014 at 10:39 PM, Updated: Wed, August 6 2014 at 11:18 PM

Gold Hill, Ore.--  Nearly a hundred people from Gold Hill and Rogue River showed up to a Gold Hill Irrigation District meeting Wednesday night,ready to speak out

"We're talking about tens of thousands of acres all along here for 15 or 20 miles that will not be watered for the rest of the summer. Devastation is what we're talking about here," said Marc Schmause.

Schmause was one of dozens who attended the meeting because he's opposed to a shut-off planned for the Gold Hill irrigation canal that could last weeks.

"We live here, we need it, it's our life."

Scott Pederson with the Gold Hill Irrigation District and said the federal government is mandating a fix for the 14 mile canal.

 "We became the number one fish killer in the Rogue River. So they came to us saying we have some things in our intake that don't meet federal criteria," said Pedersen.

The canal starts on Upper River Road and goes through City of Rogue River. The reason for the fix, to preserve a natural resource.

"The fish will pull up be under rocks trapped. By piping it with a smooth pipe, once we shut the canal off the water and fish will easily come down stream and they can go out the pipe back out to the river." said Pedersen.

He said the plan's been in the works for more than a year and that the feds gave them a four month window to do it. The window runs out in September.That's also when Pedersen said a federal grant runs out that'll pay for the $300,000 dollar project.

But the deadline comes amidst a historically dry season and Marc Schmause said he simply can't see how he'll make it work.

Pedersen said they did send out a notification in the utility bill stating water would be off for weeks.

The water is scheduled to be shut off on August 18th but Pederson said he's trying to get the date pushed back.

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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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