The livelihood of every person in Wallowa County depends on the protection of one critical resource –– our water. Not only does our human existence depend on the supply of water, but it is essential to the economic stability of our local community as well.
Anyone who visits Wallowa County can attest to the incredible wildlife and scenic areas our water sustains. Without water, the economic impacts on our local economy would be devastating.
The protection of our water and the vast resources and economy that it supports is, in large part, dependent on the preservation of the Wallowa Lake Dame.
The dam adds to the natural flow, which impacts about 88,000 acre-feet of water. It directly impacts 16,000 acres, and indirectly a total of 37,000 acres of irrigated cropland.
Without this structure, Wallowa County would see a momentous loss in revenue. It is estimated that if the dame is removed, the loss in revenue from crop production alone would be more than $14 million.
It is further estimated that there would be a devastating loss of $18.9 million in livestock production as well. Such losses only begin to scratch the surface of the economic impact that the loss of the Wallowa Lake Dam will have on our county.
Water is and will continue to be an important topic of discussion among our local citizens. There are many resources regarding this topic available.
If you would like more information about the current studies on water in our county, contact the OSU extension office.
Butterfield is the president of Associated Ditch Companies Inc. That organization’s board of directors approved the text of this letter.