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Rogue River basin nearly full for 1st time in 3 years

It's good news for people who depend on water from the reservoirs for irrigation and fish habitat, but other nearby reservoirs in the Rogue Valley aren't as lucky.
Rogue River

MEDFORD, Ore. — Late-season precipitation means reservoirs in the Rogue River basin are nearly full for the first time in three years.

The system, which includes Applegate and Lost Creek Lakes, is at 97% capacity for the first time since 2019, Jefferson Public Radio reported Thursday.

"It’s a good news story. Pretty much everyone who depends on water from those reservoirs is going to have the water that they need, even recreation," said Chris Gaylord, a for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Portland district.

RELATED: Indigenous farmer seeks solutions in drought-plagued Oregon

The water in the Rogue River Basin is used for irrigation and fish habitat.

"Even as we were heading into the end of April, things were looking really grim. It was looking like one of, if not the, worst water years in the history of these reservoirs. And things have really turned around and are better than they were last year or the year before," Gaylord said.

Other nearby reservoirs in the Rogue Valley aren’t as lucky.

Talent Irrigation District's Emigrant Lake is at 38% capacity and Hyatt Reservoir near Ashland is 11% full.

RELATED: Study: West megadrought worsens to driest in at least 1,200 years

Despite an unusually wet spring, with heavy rain persisting well into the normally dry month of June, much of southern and eastern Oregon remains under moderate to severe drought conditions, creating the potential for another highly destructive wildfire season later this summer.

The ongoing drought has also put a spotlight on water resource issues as communities throughout the state grapple with diminishing availability and high competing demand for water.

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