Officials work with other partners in the basin to provide water to Project contractors to get through end of month
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - The Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office has notified Klamath Project irrigators that they must temporarily restrict taking water deliveries from the Klamath Project due to a lack of available water. Reclamation officials also announced they have coordinated with two east-side irrigation districts to provide access to a different water source during this temporary pause so that limited irrigation operations can continue.
“We are in a tight spot for the next several days, and we are doing everything we can to scrape by with a very limited water supply. We are grateful that our partners have stepped up to help their neighbors,” said Jeff Nettleton, manager of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office.
Langell Valley Irrigation District and Horsefly Irrigation District have agreed to transfer water from Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoirs for use by districts with a contractual right to water from those sources. Deliveries of up to 6000 acre-feet of water from these reservoirs will continue through approximately June 1, 2018, when Reclamation will be able to resume deliveries from the Klamath Project. “Once the dilution flows are completed, we may also be able to make some additional water available from Upper Klamath Lake,” said Jeff Nettleton.
A letter was sent to irrigators today informing them that, based on the current rate of irrigation diversions, the available supplemental water supply that was borrowed from PacifiCorp reservoirs for the Klamath Project was exhausted at midnight Monday night. As a result, Reclamation told irrigators to take a temporary pause in deliveries from the Project until approximately May 26, 2018. At that time, officials can determine if additional water from Upper Klamath Lake can be used without causing the lake to drop below the required end-of-month elevation for May 31.
After June 1, 2018, Reclamation will have completed the two fish health-related flow releases required by a 2017 Court Injunction, and will be able to provide additional Project deliveries from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River within the limitations of the 2013 Biological Opinion. Given the dry hydrological conditions, total Project supply from Upper Klamath Lake is anticipated to be 200,000 acre-feet, inclusive of the volume delivered prior to June 1.
Reclamation is working with PacifiCorp on implementation of a court-ordered dilution flow and on opportunities to make additional water available to the Klamath Project before June 1 by exchange from PacifiCorp's hydroelectric reservoirs on the Klamath River. Additional water may be available depending on PacifiCorp operations while ramping down from the emergency dilution flow and hydrologic conditions over the course of this week.
“I want to sincerely thank all of the Project water users for the hard work, coordination and cooperation that has brought us this far through the start of a very challenging year,” Nettleton said. “We are almost to June, and with a little help from the rain that is occurring this week, I am hopeful that this will get a little easier soon.”
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Press release provided from Bureau of Reclamation.