Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Department of Interior report
by Lee Juillerat, Herald and News 2/21/09
A recently released Department of Interior report that indicates liability costs for removing four Klamath River dams could be between $466 billion and $837 billion.
It also says the four dams would create a high potential for litigation because of sediment damage to downstream fisheries and the aquatic ecosystem, and probably result in the Keno dam going to the Bureau of Reclamation or another entity.
But the document was heavily criticized by a variety of Interior reviewers who challenged cost figures, assumptions and other data. Of the 264 comments, many are highly critical.
The report, prepared by Camp Dresser & McKee for the Department of the Interior through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, was released last July and intended for the department’s internal use.
Officials said it was being made public “to insure the parties negotiating a final settlement/dam removal agreement have access to this information...”
In a statement, Interior officials said, “We understand the potential for those who oppose dam removal to identify isolated portions of the analysis and postulations … but because the Secretary will undertake his own analysis … these postulations are of limited applicability.”
Klamath Hydro Project
The generating capacity of the Klamath Hydro Project is 169 megawatts, which at peak operation can produce power for up to 70,000 single-family residences.
By planned design, however, the project operates about 50 percent of the time and generates about 750,00 megawatt hours of electricity annually. Hydro power plants do not operate at 100 percent of capacity, partly because of water rights and available flow. Under new requirements proposed by FERC as part of the relicensing process, PacifiCorp spokesman Toby Freeman said the project would see those megawatt hours cut in half.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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