Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Water releases begin
Herald and News May 13, 2010
Water releases from Upper Klamath Lake began Wednesday, as announced by the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office Tuesday afternoon. The releases will be controlled with the intention to maintain lake levels as stated in the 2010 Operations Plan. Reclamation officials said complete charging of the canals could take as long as 10 days. Irrigation districts will be able to begin deliveries to their customers as water becomes available.
“Reclamation will monitor lake levels closely and continue to work with our irrigation contractors , resource agencies and tribal interests,” said Sue Fry, Klamath Project Area manager. “Every effort will be made to release available water to the contractors while maintaining our legal and Tribal obligations.”
The 2010 Operations Plan is available at Reclamation’s website, www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao . For questions or to request copies of the plan, contact Kevin Moore at the Klamath Basin Area Office at 541-880-2557.
As of Wednesday, Upper Klamath Lake’s elevation was measured at slightly above 4,141 feet, which is nearly 2 feet lower than measured on the same date in 2001. That is also about 2 feet lower than measured last year and the average level from 1987 through 2009. The amount of water stored in the lake as of Tuesday was 340,491 acre-feet.
The Williamson River is flowing at 1,050 cubic feet per second below the Sprague River near Chiloquin, well below the long-term mean flow of 1,739 cubic feet. The Sprague River is flowing at 658 cubic feet per second, also well below the long-term mean flow of 1,210 cubic feet.
At Clear Lake, as of Wednesday the amount of water storage in acre-feet was 86,860, an increase from 64,930 acre-feet measured Saturday. Clear Lake provides storage for irrigation, and its reservoir has a capacity of 527,000 acre-feet.
Page Updated: Tuesday August 31, 2010 01:53 AM Pacific
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