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Malheur County farmers, water managers cast a wary eye on water outlook

Fewer winter storms and meager run off means area farmers will face a new challenge through the planting season. (The Enterprise/File).

NYSSA – Mother Nature wasn’t as generous this year as in the past with snowpack levels and her fickle nature will impact Malheur County’s agriculture industry.

Area water managers are already beginning to tighten water allocations.

“The inflows are looking as bad as they did in ’14 and ’15,” said Jay Chamberlin, manager of the Owyhee Irrigation District.

Chamberlin was referring to years when drought clutched most of the area and forced local irrigation districts to ration water. 

Malheur County’s agriculture economy depends on a sometimes-erratic template of snowpack and snow runoff to fill the local reservoirs. Those reservoirs then serve area farmers and ranchers through planting . . .