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Recent precipitation helped, but Basin is still catching up

By Ty Beaver, Herald and News 3/15/07

   Snow and rain the Klamath Basin received in the past several weeks didn’t do much to change the projected amount of water for the year.
   Higher than earlier in the year, the most recent water year forecast from the Bureau of Reclamation has the expected water supply in the middle of the below average range for the region.
   Cecil Lesley, chief of water and lands for the bureau’s area office, said the precipitation in past weeks has helped, but the Basin is still making up for a lack of moisture at the beginning of the year.
   “That month and a half of dry weather is costing us,” he said.
   Water storage
   Between April and September, the forecast anticipates about 415,000 acre-feet of water storage in Upper Klamath Lake. The Klamath River is expected to have 360,000 acre-feet for that period. Both values are in the middle of each body’s scale for below average water supply.
   Snowpack also is below average. Last week it was at 98 percent of average, Lesley said. Now it is at 93 percent.
   The next forecast is due next week, but Lesley said he didn’t expect any major changes before irrigation is opened for the growing season. “When things are jumping around a lot you can’t make plans,” he said.

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