Residents upset with lack of water from Medford Irrigation District

CENTRAL POINT, Ore.– Currently, most of the Rogue Valley sits under extreme or severe drought conditions.

Residents believe the Medford Irrigation District is not doing enough to help their properties through the drought.

A resident in Central Point said the water distribution in her neighborhood is unfair.

Her property isn’t receiving enough water, but across the street it’s a different story.

“Our wells, all of our neighbors are real low on water,” Central Point resident Debby Wimer said. “So we have to be very, very conservative of our water.”

Wimer said her house hasn’t received the water it needs for years now.

She is using a well to grab as much water as she can.

But for her what’s more frustrating is what’s happening across the street, as some of her neighbors are able to keep their grass green.

“The problem we’re having right now is that we have no water and the neighbors here have no water,” Wimer said. “And we’re all concerned because we’re very dry. Our wells are all low. And we have hardly any water to feed our animals.”

She is blaming the Medford Irrigation District. After several calls she has not received an answer on why she continues to pay for water she isn’t getting.

The irrigation district manager, Jack Friend, says they are running on historically low supply. Mainly due to the drought and the lack of snow pack the last few winters.

“We’re going through an unrepresented drought right now,” he said. “Last year this time we were already shut off on August 2nd. But the later spring rains this year we did have less supply this year, but we were able to start a little bit later.”

The biggest concern for Wimer is the threat for a potential fire with the dry grass.

She hopes that the disparity in water is resolved soon as we head into more warm and dry conditions in August.

“They need to sit down and have a meeting and talk it over and see why some of them are getting water in this neighborhood and totally green. And why a lot of us are not getting water. They need to get this resolved as soon as possible for all of us.”

Friend said changes will need to be made soon as the current lack of water is unsustainable for the future.

“If we’re going to continue to have years like this, we definitely need to address the situation,” he said. “But there’s not something we can do in the short-term more than what we are already doing.”

The Medford Irrigation District is having a public meeting Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Central Point off Hanley road and Main street.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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