Drought turns Mirror Pond into mud flat pond

Mirror Pond in Bend is at low tide.

Well, that’s not literally true, but man-made dams that control water levels in the Deschutes River as the earth and moon control ocean tides have made the Mirror Pond look like a coastal mud flat.

Deschutes County Water Master Bob Main said the river flow is so low that the Pacific Power & Light Company dam, which has several leaks, is letting more water spill through it than it’s holding back.

On top of that, Main said, local irrigation districts are siphoning off water to allow users to fill stock ponds. This has further reduced the water in the river.

Main said enough water usually is flowing down the river for the PP&L dam to make it back up.

But that’s not happening this year, Main said. Because of the summer and fall drought, Wickiup, Crane Prairie and other reservoirs have very low water levels. So the water master’s office is releasing as little water out of them into the river as possible.

The two irrigation districts are taking 260 cfs from the river. When they finish their draining later this week, Main said, Mirror Pond should begin refilling. He expects water levels to be back by Saturday.

Source: The Bulletin ©1987