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Water on the way to Klamath Project

Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office announced late Wednesday afternoon that up to 3,500 acre feet is available for delivery to Klamath Project irrigators starting today and running through May 31 before deliveries start on June 1.

The amount allows for a diversion rate of approximately 500 acre feet per day from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River in the remaining week of May, according to Jeff Nettleton, manager of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office.

“This is still additional amounts of water, not the start of delivery,” said Laura Williams, BOR’s public affairs officer. “This just is to carry over and get people through June 1.”

But that doesn’t mean the announcement didn’t draw excitement from the Klamath Project. Flows will begin again at the A canal early Thursday morning, according to Tyler Martin, watermaster for Klamath Irrigation District.

“This is a huge deal for the Project irrigators,” Martin said.

Martin reminded KID patrons to call their ditch-rider as soon as possible to get on a wait list for water, due to limited supply, as well as the irrigation district office with any questions at 541-882-6661 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We’ve been able to make the most of the very limited water supply that we’ve had this year,” Martin said. “We expect to continue to manage this additional allotment to the best of our abilities. It’s my sincerest hope that this additional amount of water can get to the folks who really need it before a crop failure. Obviously there’s still a large amount of acreage in the Project that has been left unirrigated due to the limited supply made available in the month of May.”

And where is water coming from?

First, 422 acre feet of the original 13,500 acre feet authorized for delivery by the end of May still remains in Upper Klamath Lake and is available for use by the Project, Nettleton said. Second, accretions between Link River Dam and Iron Gate Dam have been higher than anticipated in the last few days, providing PacifiCorp with additional operational flexibility.

Specifically, these higher accretions will allow PacifiCorp to ramp Link River Dam down to 400 cfs more quickly than originally planned and subsequently maintain Link River Dam releases at 400 cfs through the end of May. Ultimately these operations are anticipated to provide additional volume in Upper Klamath Lake above that needed to meet the end of May threshold elevation.

“We have been in regular contact with Reclamation and doing whatever we can do within our restrictions to help make water available in this tough time,” said Bob Gravely, spokesperson for PacifiCorp. “To the extent that we can adjust our operations to make more water available when it’s needed, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Reclamation anticipates Iron Gate dam flows to be at the powerhouse capacity of 1,750 cubic feet per second by Thursday and the entire ramp down operation to be complete by Monday. In combination, Upper Klamath Lake elevations are projected to rise by approximately 4,970 acre feet above the end of May threshold.

“Reclamation plans to reassess hydrologic conditions, and lake elevations relative to the end of May threshold on May 29, and will make a determination whether additional deliveries or adjustments to this diversion schedule can occur at that time,” Nettleton said.




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              Page Updated: Sunday May 27, 2018 03:24 AM  Pacific

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