Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Report: Dam removal could jeopardize Yreka’s water supply
Yreka, Calif. — The reliability of the Fall Creek water facilities – Yreka’s only water source – may be threatened if the Klamath Dams are removed, according to a document presented at Thursday’s Yreka City Council meeting.
The newly released Klamath Facilities Removal Public Draft, which contains an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), was up for discussion at Thursday’s meeting.
The 10-inch thick document contains a detailed plan for dam removal. It states that Yreka’s 24-inch diameter water pipeline from Fall Creek (which crosses the Klamath River near the upstream end of the reservoir impounded behind Iron Gate Dam) would likely sustain damage by high velocity river flows following dam removal.
The draft proposes that the city erect a pipe crossing on a constructed bridge above the reservoir surface. The new pipeline would be connected to the existing buried pipeline at each end of the bridge by horizontal bends. Valves would be installed at each end to divert water from the old to the new pipe crossings.
“A short water delivery outage would be required to make the final connections and to install the valves following construction of the new pipe crossing,” the draft states.
Yreka has seven water storage tanks. It is unknown at this time how long the Fall Creek water facilities would have to be disengaged for project completion.
“The proposed design appears to have serious flaws in terms of the reliability of our water supply,” Yreka City Manager Steven Baker stated.
Baker said that the proposed pipe crossing project has not yet been reviewed by city engineers and that the city does not currently have cost estimates for the project design.
“We have no idea how much it would cost to construct,” said Baker.
Bond funds are available to communities to mitigate the financial impacts of dam removal, but Baker stated, “There is no guarantee that funding will be available for this project.”
Baker referred to the proposed design as “an attractive nuisance,” and he noted that city staff is concerned about its future liability potential if people climb up and jump off the pipe bridge.
The city has until Nov. 21 to review the draft and submit its comments to the Department of the Interior. The secretary of the Interior will take comments into consideration when determining whether the four Klamath dams should be removed.
“The city of Yreka is developing our comments on the EIS and EIR,” Baker said.
Tight time constraints have city staff scrambling to commit the services of consultants to assist them in preparing a timely response.
If the city does not prepare and submit its comments by Nov. 21, all opportunity to challenge the document is waived, City Attorney Mary Frances McHugh wrote in a memorandum to the council.
“The city is extremely concerned that its water supply be preserved,” Baker said.
Page Updated: Saturday October 15, 2011 02:15 AM Pacific
Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2011, All Rights Reserved