Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Michelle Owen noticed what was missing while she was driving to Baker City Hall Tuesday morning and she looked west at the towering wall of the Elkhorn Mountains.

Snow.

There were still splotches of white decorating the brown rock, to be sure.

But those splotches seemed pretty small to Owen’s eyes.

And she takes more than a passing interest in that particular view.

Owen is the city’s public works director, and it’s the Elkhorns’ snowpack that keeps the city’s faucets and hydrants flowing.

Although she was a bit surprised by how much the snow has receded, still more than three weeks short of the summer solstice, Owen was not especially troubled.

She needed only to remind herself about the 400 million gallons.

That’s the combined storage capacity of Goodrich Reservoir, high in the Elkhorns, and the well into which the city diverts water from mountain streams during the winter and spring.

Both of those supplementary water sources are full, Owen said.

“We’re in good shape there,” Owen said.

The scanty snowpack, depleted during what’s likely to be the second-warmest May on record at the Baker City Airport, is not so positive, but Owen doesn’t expect any water shortfalls this summer.

See more in the May 30, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.

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