Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Streamflow forecasts look good, for now

H&N photo by Gary Thain
Water flows over the Link River Dam near Upper Klamath Lake.

January 9, 2006

Snow in the mountains is a good sight for Klamath Basin irrigators. With a healthy snowpack, the first federal streamflow forecast of 2006 for Upper Klamath Lake is for 680,000 acre-feet of water to come in between April and September. That's 132 percent of average.

“Things look pretty good overall,” said Dave Solem, manager of the Klamath Irrigation District. “Now it needs to just stay up on the mountains and not come down anymore.”

Recent rains have melted some of the precious snowpack, where 50 percent of the water for the Klamath Reclamation Project is stored.

While the winter and the numbers are looking good, federal officials and irrigators aren't getting too excited yet.

“The bottom line is, it is too soon to tell,” said Cecil Lesley, Project land and operations chief.

About this time last year the snowpack was also hefty. Then the winter weather stopped and forecasts from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, steadily worsened until by March the predictions were for a drier year than 2001.

The Basin got bailed out by a wet spring, but the experience left officials wary.

“It creates an illusion in people's minds that things will be okay,” Sabo said.

Officials and irrigators will continue to watch weather forecasts as the growing season, which typically goes from April to October in the Basin, gets closer.

Conservation Service forecasts come out in the first week of the month from now into the summer. For now the forecast appears good.

“It looks pretty positive at this point,” said Jon Lea, a Conservation Service, the federal agency that crunched the forecast numbers.”But it is pretty early in the year.”

On the Net: www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/special/klamath.pl




Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved