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<BR>Irrigation season over soon<BR>

The Ochoco Irrigation District's board announced that the irrigation season will end on Oct. 15, leaving water supplies in Ochoco Reservoirs just a few feet from the top of the intake outlet
Water levels at Ochoco Reservoir are getting close to the top of the intake outlets. Those outlets are about four feet below the band seen on intake structure. It is doubtful whether the water will drop much lower.
   The irrigation season is about over and it looks as if there will be enough water in Ochoco Reservoir to fill local needs.
   Russell Rhoden, manager of Ochoco Irrigation District, announced this week they will begin shutting down the irrigation canals on Monday, Oct. 15. There will be water in some areas of the system for a few days following that, he added, as the system drains.
   It doesn't appear that Ochoco Reservoir will go dry this year. As of this morning, there was 9,066 acre feet stored behind Ochoco Dam. The dead pool, the amount of water that is below the level the outflow can draw from, is officially 5,700 acre feet. Rhoden figures that by mid October, there should be about 7,400 acre feet left in the reservoir.
   There was some concern about levels dropping below the intake level. The water level is presently about four feet above that cutoff point.
   Levels at Prineville Reservoir are also unseasonably low: 56,561 acre feet. Rhoden said the outflow into the Crooked River is now at 175 cubic feet per second, down from 230 cfs a few weeks ago.
   Over the next three or four weeks, that flow will start being cut back to the typical winter flows. That reduction will be done slowly so not to cause fish and other wildlife any problems.
   Looking ahead, Rhoden said he hasn't heard much from state or federal forecasters. "They are predicting near normal conditions, whatever that means," he said. "It doesn't sound like they are looking for anything big in the way of snowfall."
   Whatever the winter will bring, though, Rhoden said he is already "praying for snow."