Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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East side could go dry this summer
March 18, 2005 Combined staff and wire reports
There's plenty of uncertainty over water supplies
for the Klamath Reclamation Project this year, but
one thing is clear: Irrigators on the project's east
side are in for a tough summer.
"It's pretty bad over there," said Dave Sabo,
Klamath Reclamation Project manager. Forecasts call
for no water out of Clear Lake and 50 percent of
normal supplies from Gerber Reservoir.
"As far as irrigation on the east side goes, it
might be nonexistent," said John Nichols, Langell
Valley district manger.
Reclamation officials plan to deliver water from
Upper Klamath Lake, which supports most of the
Klamath Project, but farmers have been asked to
''That is putting us down into one of the three or
four driest years on record since 1961,'' Sabo said.
''There will not be a shutoff this year,'' for the
bulk of the project, Sabo said. ''I can say that
with some definition.''
''Some farmers who may have been planning on
planting new fields may want to hold off this
year,'' Sabo said. ''Some who want to expand
production may not be able to.''
Oregon Natural Resources Council spokesman Steve
Pedery complained that in the four years since the
2001 shutoff, nothing has been done to significantly
reduce water demand, such as buyouts or long-term
leases to idle farmland.
But Sabo said buying farmland to permanently reduce
water demand would not produce increased flows at
the times they would benefit fish, such as the
spring, when juvenile salmon swim to the ocean.
''It's going to be very tight,'' Gasser said. ''... Drying up land is the last option we like to see. But it is going to happen this year.''
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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