PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The Crooked River is full to the brim with low-elevation melting snow, and the Prineville Reservoir is being employed to manage river levels.
The reservoir was built for both irrigation and flood control. Oregon Water Resources Department Regional Manager Kyle Gorman said the reservoirs current overflow is 3,000 cubic feet per second, while inflow is about 4,000 to 6,000 cubic feet per second. The reservoir is maintaining the inflow to maximize the current outflow, but it's resulting in high water levels that haven't been seen in the Crooked River since 2006.
"The reservoir was built to manage the floods through Prineville, and the design they used was estimated at 3,000 cubic feet per second to be the maximum that would be maintained through Prineville to minimize flooding and damage," Gorman said Monday. "The Bureau of Reclamation and the Ochoco Irrigation District operate in concert with each other to watch what comes into the reservoir, how it is doing, and then make the adjustments on the outflow."
Gorman said the public should stay away from the river at present due to its strong velocity, currents and cold temperatures.
There has been some flooding at Meadow Lakes Golf Course, and the facilities manager said they've had to close a few holes and bridges due to high water.
"It's affected a little bit of our revenue, and I think if it stays this way for a prolonged time, it could have an impact on us," said Zach Lampert, the Meadow Lakes facilities manager. "Our hope is that it will only be up for a few more days, and then maybe they can drop it down enough to where we won't be flooding. But I know it depends on how much runoff they get coming into the reservoir."
The high river levels are expected to fall over the next few days, helped by cooler weather.