The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, is anticipating an insufficient water year as it refills its 13 Willamette Valley and two Rogue River Basin reservoirs for the upcoming recreation season.

Both the Willamette and Rogue reservoir systems, which depend on rainfall to fill, are experiencing a dry spring that is hampering refill efforts at most of the reservoirs.

Year-to-date precipitation across the Willamette was 80% of normal, as of April 19, but most of this rain fell prior to the start of refill season or fell as snow. The Rogue saw worse precipitation at 64%, most of which fell before refill season, too. 

“We’re monitoring forecasts and updating our modeling on a daily basis,” said Salina Hart, reservoir regulation chief. “We rely on spring precipitation to fill the reservoirs, which with this year being so dry, most Corps reservoirs are not able to fill to their maximum conservation pool levels,” she said. The snowpack is 109% of median for the Willamette and 70% of median for the Rogue.