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Which way does the lake water flow?

I read an interesting article in the Jan. 4 edition of the Mail Tribune regarding the water levels at Howard Prairie and Hyatt lakes. The article got me wondering. Does the Cascade Canal drain into Fish Lake, and then go farther south to Howard Prairie Lake or does it go into a pipe for the Medford Water Commission? Does anyone monitor water levels at Four Mile and Fish lakes?

— Greg J., Central Point

You sound like a very curious guy, Greg, and we appreciate anyone who has your level of curiosity.

You’re right in your suspicions that many of the lakes essentially flow into each other, creating a network of water that serves Jackson County.

First of all, we would like to refer you to a very useful map on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation website: www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/roguetea.html. The bureau compiles data on all the major lakes in the area and how many cubic feet per second of water is flowing through a given stream.

Four Mile is currently 29 percent full and Fish Lake is 43 percent full.

The Cascade Canal traverses Klamath and Jackson counties and delivers water from Fourmile Lake in the Klamath River watershed over the Cascade Divide to Fish Lake in the Rogue River watershed.

We checked in with Jim Pendleton of the Talent Irrigation District to help us explain which lakes are connected by a similar water source.

Four Mile, Fish and Agate lakes are supplied by the North Fork of Little Butte Creek. Howard Prairie and Emigrant are supplied by the South Fork of Little Butte Creek. Hyatt Lake gets its water from surrounding creeks but the water that flows out of it eventually ends up in Emigrant Lake.

The one thing that all the lakes have in common is where the water ends up eventually.

“It all flows into the Rogue River,” Pendleton said.

Laura Hodnett of the Medford Water Commission said her agency hasn’t used water from Fish Lake since 1927, when it began tapping into Big Butte Springs.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.