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PacifiCorp lends more water to Reclamation

The boat ramps at Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs are temporarily closed through June, and possibly later, due to a draw-down of water requested for use by Bureau of Reclamation for Klamath Project irrigators.

As part of meeting a total request of approximately 20,000 acre feet of water from the Bureau of Reclamation, PacifiCorp announced on Monday it has started lowering the water levels of the reservoirs on the Klamath River a second time, which will impact recreation in that area over the Memorial Day weekend. Water levels will be down by about 10 to 15 feet of normal. The first request for additional water made to PacifiCorp totaled 10,500 acre feet, an amount that has been exhausted, with the second request for water totaling approximately 9,500 acre feet.

“We regret the impacts, especially as a holiday weekend approaches, but hope the community understands that the water is being used to help their neighbors get through a difficult time,” said Todd Andres, Pacific Power’s regional business manager in Klamath Falls, in a news release.


PacifiCorp finalized plans with the Bureau of Reclamation and others to make more water from the reservoirs available to the Bureau of Reclamation in Upper Klamath Lake, according to Bob Gravely, spokesperson for PacifiCorp.

“I think the question for the Bureau is how much of that 9,500 acre feet will actually be able to go to the Project and how much of it is to just keep required Upper Klamath Lake levels,” Gravely said.

“I can’t say for sure how much of that will go to the Project versus Upper Klamath Lake.”

Gravely said PacifiCorp would be flexible on repayment of water and that none was expected before the end of May, which is a critical time frame for the irrigation districts.

“The issue is more making sure that the reservoirs are full enough to be able to comply with any flow directives that could come later on,” Gravely said.

Reclamation will use the water to keep elevations up to standard at Upper Klamath Lake and to support water deliveries to Klamath Project irrigators to cover a shortfall until water deliveries to the Klamath Project take place in June.

“We’re appreciative that all the stakeholders on this river are willing to cooperate and try to make things work,” said Scott White, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association. “We’re facing some pretty tough, unprecedented situations currently, and just having everybody on board, willing to work together to try and make things work for everybody is a breath of fresh air.”

Boat ramps are scheduled to remain closed until mid-June at Iron Gate Reservoir, and potentially longer at Copco Reservoir, which is expected to refill during the summer.

PacifiCorp expects peaking flows below J.C. Boyle dam will be sufficient to support whitewater rafting over the holiday weekend, according to Gravely.

To reduce future impacts to recreation at Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs in the future, PacifiCorp plans to extend existing boat ramps to make the water accessible at lower reservoir levels.




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