Why is there a water shortage?
The main water supply for the park comes from Annie Creek, a tributary of the Wood River located in the Klamath Basin of Southern Oregon. Despite above average snow and precipitation in Oregon this winter, stream flows in the Wood River are not at the levels determined necessary to maintain healthy and productive riparian habitats for native plants and fisheries in the Klamath Basin. As a result, a call for water has been issued and validated on the Wood River, and Crater Lake must use an alternate source of water for park needs.
How will the water shortage affect Crater Lake National Park?
What does the park use water for?
The park’s water use is primarily for drinking, food preparation, showers, and toilets, as well as fire preparedness.
Why doesn’t the park just use the water in Crater Lake?
Consuming Crater Lake water would conflict with the park’s mission to preserve the lake. The park's water claim for the lake is for the preservation and protection of all natural habitats and the conservation of scenery. It is not for human consumption. Additionally, the lake is difficult to access and would require significant engineering and infrastructure development to connect to our existing water system.
Why doesn't the park melt snow to meet its water needs?
Under Oregon law, all water is publicly owned. Use of snowmelt requires a water right permit, which would still be subject to the current call. Basically, the snow on the ground at the park is connected to the surface water that is needed downstream. There are exceptions for collecting snow from impervious surfaces such as roofs and roadways. However, using this source of water would not be cost effective or likely meet the park's needs.
Will Crater Lake National Park have to close?
We are looking at every option to keep the park open with limited water service.
What would the economic impact of a shutdown be?
The park is a significant contributor to the region’s economy; in 2016 (the latest data), more than 756,000 visitors spent $65.3 million in communities within 60 miles of the park that supported 1100 jobs.
How much water do you use every day and how much do you need to operate?
In May, the park and its visitors use an average of 36,000 gallons of water per day. During peak season, the use rises to almost double that amount. The conservation measures we are considering would significantly reduce water use. Conservation measures are proposed to reduce water use as much as possible during the water call.
How will the park provide water during the restriction period?
Until the well is fully functional, the park is making plans to transport water to our water system. Initially, this water will all be coming from outside of the park. We are also working on accessing water from the well source with a temporary pump before the well is completed. Once this is in place, it will require less water to be transported from outside areas, though the water will still have to be transported from the well location to our water system within the park. You will see water storage tanks near Annie Creek and water trucks driving from either outside the park or the well location (off of Highway 62 West, near the Pacific Crest Trail crossing) to Annie Creek.
What will happen to National Park Service and concession employees in the event of a water shut-off?
The National Park Service and Xanterra Parks & Resorts are actively working together to develop contingency plans for the drought that limits impacts to our employees, park visitors, partners, businesses, and the local economy.
What will happen to visitors with reservations to stay in the Lodge or the cabins at Mazama Village?
We continue to welcome visitors from around the world to this national treasure. We are letting them know about the water shortage and asking for their help in limiting their water use.
What water conservation measures are you taking?
Over the past several years, the National Park Service has installed low-flow fixtures including toilets, shower heads, faucets, and washing machines in park facilities and residences. Since 2005, Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been replacing standard fixtures in concession facilities with low-flow models. The company has modified operations to reduce water consumption.
Last updated: June 13, 2017