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Little water allocated to Klamath Basin growers

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commits to only 50,000 acre-feet for project customers. They normally get about 350,000.

Farm Press Staff

April 12, 2022

2 Min Read
A Klamath Irrigation Project canal extends along Highway 97 in the Klamath Basin in Southern Oregon in 2020. Tim Hearden

Only about 50,000 acre-feet of water will be allocated to farmers in the Klamath Basin this year -- a small fraction of the roughly 350,000 acre-feet the reclamation project normally receives when there isn't a drought.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced the initial allocation Monday,, April 11, while releasing temporary operating procedures for the project straddling the Oregon-California state line.

The allocation will allow for limited irrigation beginning on April 15 and is subject meeting an end of water year Upper Klamath Lake elevation of no less than 4,138.15 feet, with the objective of no less than 4,139.2 feet through July 15, according to a bureau news release.

“The Klamath Basin is experiencing prolonged and extreme drought conditions that we have not seen since the 1930s,” said Reclamation Acting Commissioner David Palumbo. “We will continue to monitor the hydrology and adaptively manage conditions in close coordination with Project water users, Tribes and state and federal agency partners. Reclamation is dedicated to collaborating with all stakeholders to get through another difficult year and keep working toward long-term solutions for the Basin.”

Reclamation also announced $20 million in immediate aid to the Klamath Project through the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency for the 2022 irrigation season. An additional $5 million in technical assistance is being made available to Klamath Basin tribes for projects.

The bureau initially allocated 33,000 acre-feet to farmers last year but cut the allotment to zero last May as the drought worsened. The basin received below-normal precipitation again this winter, and Reclamation says it has continued to coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, tribes, states, irrigation districts and non-government organizations to develop operational solutions for this season's extraordinary dry conditions.

For more information, visit https://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao. For additional information or assistance accessing documents, contact the Klamath Basin Area Office at 541-883-6935  (TTY 800-877-8339).

Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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