Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Water year looks like 2001
March 4, 2005
Federal water managers say they hope to deliver a
full supply of water to irrigators in most of the
Klamath Reclamation Project this year, even though
conditions this spring closely resemble those of
four years ago.
The federal government didn't delivery any water to
most Project farmers at the start of the 2001
season, and turmoil ensued as irrigators and their
supporters staged a protest for several weeks at the
headgates of the A Canal.
Still, while the Bureau will do everything it can to
make full deliveries this year, water users should
be aware that water supplies could be tight, said
Dave Sabo, manager of the Klamath Reclamation
spoke to about 120 Project irrigators Thursday at a
meeting of the Klamath Water Users Association at
the Klamath County Fairgrounds. The focus of the
meeting was on power rates and possible changes, but
Sabo also took some time to discuss water supplies.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, the
federal agency tasked with predicting how much
streamflow the snowpacks around the country will
produce throughout the summer, came out with its
March 1 prediction earlier this week.
The forecast calls for 265,000 acre-feet of water,
or 52 percent of average, to flow into Upper Klamath
Lake from April to September. The lake is the
Project's main reservoir.
Although storms brought some rainfall to the Basin
last week, it was too warm to add any snow to the
The snow level today was at 5,500 feet, according to
the National Weather Service. Forecasts for the
weekend call for highs in the mid-50s to lower 60s,
although no rain is expected.
The weather today could add to a shortage of water
While things look bad for farmers who rely on Upper
Klamath Lake, things look even worse for irrigators
on the east side of the Klamath Project. Low water
levels in Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoir could cut
irrigation season in half, even with reduced
deliveries, officials said.
The next streamflow forecast will be out on March
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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