Note: Deputy Commissioner
of the Bureau of Reclamation David Palumbo toured the
Klamath Basin during his first visit to the area a couple
weeks ago. Palumbo was unavailable for an in-person
interview but responded to questions from an H&N reporter
Have you been to the Klamath Basin before? What did you
learn on your visit? Where are you visiting?
was my first visit to the Klamath Basin. While I am familiar
with the Klamath Project operations and hydrologic
conditions, this trip provided an on the ground opportunity
to gain greater insight into the competing demands and
stresses in the Basin. I toured some of the area including A
Canal Headworks, Link River and Keno Dams, Lake Ewauna, the
Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Lake refuges and the Gold Dust
Potato Processing Plant.
Who are you meeting with while here and what are you talking
in Klamath Falls, I met with the Klamath Water Userís
Association and several member districts as well as
Reclamation staff and PacifiCorp managers. I also attended
the re-initiation of consultation kick off meeting for an
updated Klamath Project Operations Biological Opinion. In
addition to the Water Users, the Districts, and PacifiCorp,
the Klamath, Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok Tribes, and the
National Marine Fisheries and Fish and Wildlife Services
irrigation systems in our area need modernizing? Have you
been made aware of a desire by Klamath Irrigation District
to pursue a piping system for irrigation, and if so, what
are your thoughts on this?
Certainly, Reclamation facilities here are aging. Many
canals, laterals and dams are 100 years old and older. As
far as piping, Yes. I am aware of KID piping plans, which I
think can have a positive impact. Relatedly, Reclamation has
Water Smart grants available every year to help irrigation
district systems. The Horsefly Irrigation District on the
East side of the Klamath Project has been quite successful
in applying for, receiving and using those grants to pipe
ditches. Piping can dramatically decrease the loss of water
through evaporation and seepage.
How likely is a water settlement between the Klamath Tribes
and all the parties in the Basin at this point in time?
Demands on water are increasing at the same time the water
supply is decreasing due to drought, changing hydrologic
conditions, court injunctions, and requirements of
Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species.The only way to
solve these problems is for all parties to work
collaboratively toward an agreement on how to meet all the
water needs. Iím hopeful that an agreement across the Basin
can be reached.
Any other comments about your visit you would like to add?
appreciated how the people of the Klamath Basin were
welcoming and forthcoming with their suggestions. The
Klamath Basin is a large and diverse water system with a lot
of wonderful and hardworking people. Iím optimistic that we
can find balance in the challenging resource management
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