Eastern Oregon's snowpack continues to hold low water content, according to measurements made Tuesday, and there's slim chance of things getting back to normal.

"We've been behind from the start, and we remain there," said Mike Burton, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in La Grande.

Meacham's snowpack has about 45 percent of its normal water content and Tollgate is about 66 percent of normal, Burton said.

As a whole, the Umatilla Basin is about 45 percent of normal water content.

The Grande Ronde basin, which includes the La Grande and Wallowa County areas, had the best snowpack in the state, at 62 percent of normal water content, Burton said.

A low snowpack will affect water in spring and summer.

"It's going to be particularly difficult for water users not on a system with a reservoir. The snow really represents a reservoir in those cases," Burton said.

Irrigators may have to adjust their cropping patterns, he added.

However, the low snowpack does eliminate the threat of flash floods this spring, Burton noted.

On Tuesday, Meacham had 16.3 inches of snow with 3.8 inches of water content, well below its normal 26 inches of snow with 8.5 inches of water.

Tollgate had 51.4 inches of snow, with 16.2 inches of water, compared with its 30-year-average of 68 inches of snow and 24.5 inches of water.

The Willamette Basin only had 33 percent of its normal snowpack water in Tuesday's measurement.

The NRCS is part of the United States Department of Agriculture.

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