Talent Irrigation District shuts down amid drought conditions

ASHLAND, Ore. – Farms depending on water from the Talent Irrigation District could be facing trouble this year.

Water managers said the system was at bare-bones levels last month. Now, the district has completely shut down.

TID issued the following notice late last week:

“Due to extremely low reservoir levels and depleted water supply, the district will be shutting all of the canals off first thing Monday morning, July 19, 2021. Some canals may run into Tuesday while draining down.”

Mike Winters, president of the Talent Irrigation District, says he could potentially see more fires happening this summer. He recommends affected people to begin making a fire safety zone around their property within ODF “extreme” fire danger restrictions.

“Things that have typically been irrigated in green are going to turn brown probably in the next three or four weeks,” Winters told NBC5. “We’ll still have a long fire season yet to go, and we don’t want another Almeda fire.” 

The latest shutoff comes on the heels of a two-week hold late last month that was made in an attempt to extend the water year.

Talent Irrigation District water comes from Howard Prairie Reservoir, Hyatt Lake, and Emigrant Lake. The district needs more than 50,000 acre-feet of water to make it through a regular season. This season started with a little over 22,000 acre-feet. TID reservoirs are currently at historic lows for this time of year.

The people affected most by shutdowns are hay farmers and cattle ranchers, according to the district.

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