In the community

Severe drought hitting Malheur County

Drought conditions can be seen across most of the county, including at Keeney Pass. (Les Zaitz/The Enterprise)

VALE – For 13 years, Vale rancher Toby McBride has relied on a spring to supply his cattle with water during the dry, hot summer months. But this year, that spring dried up. 

There’s so little water available on his pastures that McBride has resorted to digging into the spring to force water up, something he never expected he’d have to do. 

Sixty-two percent of Malheur County is experiencing severe drought conditions with another 25 percent in moderate drought, according to a recent report from the National Drought Mitigation Center. The other 13 percent of the county is abnormally dry. 

Reservoir operators in the county said there’s enough water to supply farmers and ranchers on irrigated land . . .