Streamflow forecasts look good, for now
H&N photo by Gary
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
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
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.
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