File photo of 2020

Jackson Co. lake levels below 10%, going to be a ‘tough year’ Watermaster says

*Photo is from 2020

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore — As Jackson County continues to navigate through a years-long drought, the situation will likely get worse according to officials.

Jackson county Watermaster Shavon Haynes said that the reservoirs are losing more water than its been receiving. As of Wednesday – Emigrant, Howard Prairie, and Hyatt lakes are reporting less than 10% full.

“It’s going to be a tough year,” Haynes told NBC5. “It’s definitely not something that has happened overnight. It’s a result of years of less than average water.”

In years prior, Haynes shared that the lakes benefited from storage in the reservoirs. Snowpack on higher elevation mountains can also help ease the strain.

Snowpack is currently 73% median in the Klamath basin.

“The sources that rely on releases of storage, are going to see a reduction this year,” Haynes said. “In order for things to get back to what some may consider normal, we’re going to need a substantial amount of water to get us there.”

Haynes added that one of his biggest concerns is how the lack of water will continue to negatively impact farmers.

Klamath county is currently the only county that has filed and received an emergency drought declaration from Governor Kate Brown. It received the declaration on March 8th – a month earlier compared to 2021.

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