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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Mid-Pacific Region, Sacramento, CA

For Release On: January 13, 2006

The Bureau of Reclamation's Klamath Basin Area Office announces implementation of the 2006 Pilot Water Bank. The Pilot Water Bank is required by a 2002 National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries Biological Opinion (BO) on Klamath Project (Project) operations and is used to benefit Klamath River flows for threatened coho salmon. In 2006, Reclamation must acquire 100,000 acre-feet of water in the Klamath River Basin upstream of Keno Dam in Oregon to use during the irrigation season as needed to meet BO requirements. The Pilot Water Bank consists of several programs, including on- and off-Project storage, Dryland Operation, and Ground-water Substitution Options. Reclamation is now soliciting bids for the Dryland Operation and Ground-water Substitution Options programs for the 2006 Pilot Water Bank.

For Dryland Operation, Reclamation is accepting applications from individuals, groups of individuals, partnerships, and companies willing to forego irrigation of their lands during the 2006 irrigation season in exchange for payment. For Ground-water Substitution Options, Reclamation is accepting applications from individuals, groups of individuals, partnerships, and companies willing to alternate between surface water irrigation and ground-water irrigation during the 2006 irrigation season at Reclamation's direction. This represents a change from previous years, in which ground water was substituted for surface water for the entire irrigation season. For 2006, ground water will be substituted for surface water only at Reclamation's specific request. Payment will be based on the documented quantity of ground water pumped. It is possible Reclamation may not make a request for ground-water substitution at any time during the irrigation season, in which case no payment will be made. Oregon landowners must provide documentation of a Supplemental Water Right for the ground-water sources and fields in this program, as it appears likely no Drought Permits will be issued this year.

Participation is open to all users of surface water above Keno Dam including non-Project users, except lands above Harpold Dam, Federal lease lands, and lands under temporary surplus water contracts ("C lands"). Eligibility is limited to field units that have been irrigated in the recent past. Field units must have been irrigated (surface or ground water) in at least one of the past 3 years (2003, 2004, or 2005). Only complete field units of at least 20 contiguous acres are eligible.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Klamath Basin Area Office for details. Starting on January 17, 2006, applicants may make an appointment to discuss their particular operational situation prior to submittal of their final bid. Completed and signed applications and all documentation must be submitted to the Klamath Basin Area Office, 6600 Washburn Way, Klamath Falls, OR 97603, by 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 16, 2006, for consideration.

For additional information, please contact Mr. Jon Hicks, Ms. Jennifer Birri, or Mr. Mike Neuman at 541-883-6935 or by e-mail at jhicks@mp.usbr.gov, jbirri@mp.usbr.gov, or mneuman@mp.usbr.gov

Program information, application forms, and a sample contract are available on the Klamath Basin Area Office Web site at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao.




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