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Project will help keep tabs on water supply

Watershed viewer to be unveiled soon
  by TY BEAVER, Herald and News 11/19/09 
     Imagine a resource that would allow you to see how much precipitation the Klamath Basin has received, how much water is in the regionís reservoirs, where the water diversions are and who has water rights.

   Thatís what North Dakota-based Houston Engineering will unveil for Klamath County in the coming months.

   The engineering firm hired by Klamath County has spent months developing what it calls an online watershed viewer. Itís also working   on a viewer that would display restoration projects occurring throughout the watershed in Oregon and California.

   The watershed viewer

   Mark Deutschman, the firmís vice president, told the countyís Natural Resources Advisory Committee last week that the watershed viewer would inform and educate residents about the management of water resources in the Basin, using data from other government agencies and sources.

   The two projects are an offshoot of a broader project Houston Engineering is working on for the county called Klamath Map.

   That project would provide an online map of various data about the county, from where school district boundaries   are to zoning and ownership of land. That resource should be available to residents in about two months.

   Water data

   The watershed viewer also would be in the form of a map, but would focus strictly on water-related data. It would have a schematic showing how all the streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs are related and used, and provide a host of other information.

   Information would be culled from online sources such as the Natural Resource Conservation Ser v ice and Oregon Water Resources Department, Deutschman said. The connections would allow viewers to go to the original sources.

   A related project, a restoration projects   viewer that is further from completion, would pull information from five government agency databases to show where restoration projects, from improving fish passage to restoring wetlands, are taking place throughout the watershed in Oregon   and California.

   Some data unavailable

   Some data on restoration projects wouldnít be available, such as the owner of the project land, but Stephanie Johnson of Houston Engineering said the firm is looking for a way to allow communities to provide information of their own.

   ďThis could potentially be used to find future restoration projects,Ē she said.

   Committee members had concerns and questions. Committee member Andrea Rabť pointed out that a schematic of the Basinís rivers and reservoirs incorrectly showed Crater Lake as the source of the Wood River.

   Committee liaison Lani Hickey said thatís why the county wants committee members to test the viewers before theyíre presented to the public.

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