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Wet weather prompts water year type change 

 June 10, 2005

A wet spring has boosted the federal water year types for Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River from "dry" to "below-average."

"The wet weather patterns are continuing much later into the summer than in recent years, resulting in more water available to meet all the demands on the lake and the river," said Dave Sabo, manager of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

With the change in water year type enacted Tuesday comes increases in requirements for the amount of water sent down the Klamath River for threatened coho salmon and held in the lake for endangered sucker fishes.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials expect to meet both the increased requirements and accommodate typical agriculture deliveries.

"I don't anticipate we are going to have much difficulty this summer," Sabo said. "I think we are going to be in pretty good shape because it has been so moist and cool."

Reclamation officials have discussed adjustments in flow levels with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will meet required levels for a below-average year type.

Water for the increased flows and lake level will come from reserves held on the Agency Lake Ranch and Barnes Ranch, as well as from the water bank to meet Endangered Species Act and tribal trust responsibilities.

Stored water on the ranches accounts for part of the Bureau's 100,000 acre-foot water bank. The Bureau is also paying irrigators to let acres lie fallow or switch to ground water to add water to the bank.

As of June 1, the water bank had expended about 71,140 acre-feet, leaving nearly 30,000 acre-feet for the remaining irrigation season, Bureau officials said.

The change in water year type came after the latest streamflow forecast from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the federal agency tasked with predicting streamflows around the country.

The forecast released earlier this week calls for 74 percent of average inflow to come into the lake from April to September. The April 1 streamflow forecast, issued at the beginning of irrigation season and before rainy weather took hold, called for 42 percent of average to flow into the lake during the same time period.

On the Net: www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao.





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