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Agency looks to curtail water usage, Group is preparing for drought

Herald and News 5/9/13

     The Klamath Water and Power Agency is reaching out to farmers and ranchers. KWAPA is seeking to enroll more irrigators in water curtailment programs to make the available water in this dry year stretch as far as possible.

   KWAPA is soliciting offers for its partial season demand management program, part of the water users mitigation program, known as WUMP.

   KWAPA is seeking landowners with five or more acres growing alfalfa, pasture or grass hay within the Klamath Project. Those who wish to enroll can apply to be compensated for   stopping surface water irrigation from Upper Klamath Lake and Klamath River by no later than June 25, a press release said. Those who volunteer will be taking on a partial-season curtailment.  

   Last year, this process happened on a set price, said Hollie Cannon, KWAPA executive director. This year irrigators are making offers and the KWAPA board will decide which to accept, starting with the cheapest.

   Offers must be submitted to the KWAPA office by noon May 31. The offers will be opened at 1 p.m. and the board will meet June 4, Cannon said.

   KWAPA already went through a similar   process in the spring for full-season curtailments.

   Avoiding involuntary


   Cannon hopes KWAPA can get enough people to volunteer for the partial-season shutoff to avoid involuntary shutoffs if the Bureau of Reclamation has to carry forward its drought plan.

   The bureau is forecasting   293,000 acre feet available from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River for project irrigators. Water shortages could be as much as 100,000 acre feet.

   “Given the current water conditions, the potential for above average agricultural water demands and the projected shortages to the project, participation in KWAPA supplementation   programs, which aim to balance surface water supply and demand, is important,” KWAPA said in its press release.

   Programs such as the partial season demand management help reduce the demand for surface water, which will be especially important in the late 2013 irrigation season.

   “Water conserved through KWAPA’s programs will stretch the available supply for the remaining users, and reduces the likelihood of involuntary curtailments of irrigation water from (Upper Klamath Lake),” the press release said.  

   Even with the contracts already arranged for curtailing water, KWAPA hopes to get more voluntary contracts for at least 40,000 acre feet of additional demand reduction, it said.

   If the Bureau of Reclamation proceeds with its drought plan, “there are no guarantees that irrigators without KWAPA contracts will receive any compensation for water curtailments,” the press release said.  



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