Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Less than average snow pack creates anxiety for irrigators
If trends continue, farmers could have challenging season, experts say
Klamath Basin irrigators who rely on deep winter snow packs and a well-filled Upper Klamath Lake are getting anxious.
“We’ve been monitoring it all winter,” said Dave Solem, Klamath Irrigation District manager. “Our concern is the that the time left for conditions to get better is getting short.”
Earl Danowsky, manager of the Tulelake Irrigation District, is taking a wait-and-see attitude.
“It’s just too early,” Danowsky said. “There’s a lot of winter left.”
While California has been clobbered by winter storms in recent days, the precipitation on Oregon’s side of the state line has been sparse.
At Crater Lake National Park, for example, the on-ground snow total Wednesday morning was 58 inches, about 68 percent of the average 85 inches normally measured this time of year.
The accumulated precipitation for the water year, which began Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, is just over 27 inches, or about 82 percent of the average 33 inches.
“It is premature to make any predictions at this early stage,” said Kevin Moore, spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin area office. “However, if current trends continue, (Klamath Irrigation) Project operations will be extremely challenging this season. The current rain may seem helpful, but it is reducing the snow pack we have while providing very little change in the lake levels.”
Online readers comments:
Vern wrote on Jan 21, 2010 4:28 AM:
" How is this proof? This is a small blip on the radar screen. In a dry year the KBRA won't guarantee anything except for the tribe! "
Oft repeated doesn't mean its right wrote on Jan 20, 2010 11:00 PM:
" Sorry to "KBRA needed", but if you read the fine print, it appears that the ESA will prevail and all moisture will go to protect the endangered species in the basin.
The KBRA affords NO protection from the ESA and the Hardy Phase II demands. Nor from lawsuits brought on behalf of these species by groups outside of the stakeholder group.
Please stop with the oft repeated and non-truth, about the opponents of the KBRA. In fact, they are the true supporters and upholders of water rights and property rights in agriculture int his basin.
PLEASE TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE LIMITATIONS OF THIS KBRA DOCUMENT. THE ESA WILL always SUPERCEDE IRRIGATION RIGHTS OR RESTORATION AGREEMENT.
It is not a panacea for drought. "
KBRA needed wrote on Jan 20, 2010 7:53 PM:
" This is good proof why the KBRA is needed.
Without the KBRA, the entire project could be shut off again this year, just like in 2001. Meanwhile, the fat cat off-project irrigators with inferior junior water rights will be able to sprinkle all the water their hearts desire.
With the KBRA, the project would be guaranteed a minimum amount of water this year, and compensation for water it doesn't get. And the fat cat off-project irrigators would still get to sprinkle all the water their hearts desire.
More proof that ANTI-KBRA = ANTI=AGRICULTURE
Too bad the KBRA will not be in effect this year. And too bad fellow citizens of our rural community are fighting so hard against it. "
Vern wrote on Jan 20, 2010 7:37 PM:
" What's to worry about we have everyone signing off on the KBRA right? "
MA wrote on Jan 20, 2010 7:25 PM:
" will we have more mosquitos this year as well? If we dredged the lake won't it have more water capacity... and less midges? "
D.A. wrote on Jan 20, 2010 5:44 PM:
" Water storage is going to be big in the next ten years. It will have to be a federal assisted program for the west coast, with cooperation between the states. "
Dale J wrote on Jan 20, 2010 5:33 PM:
" Looks like the historic weather patterns of dry and wet are showing up again. If you look at hinstory you will see that this is natural and should be expected. If it does cause low lake levels this year then there is a good possibility that the farmers will benefit from it in higher proces for their products.
If you call this Global Warming then look at the geologic history of the basin and you will see that it has happened before and will happen again. Nature will win! "
Page Updated: Friday January 22, 2010 02:02 AM Pacific
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