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Over 70 Years of Representing the Farmers and Ranchers of Klamath Project

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4:16 pm, Jun 14, 2024
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“There is more water available that we should be able to access.”

May 16, 2024

KWUA Pushes improvement in a disappointing announcement on the 2024 irrigation deliveries

On April 15, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) issued a 2024 Klamath Project Operations Plan that provides 230,000 acre-feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River for irrigation in 2024. This amounts to 35% of the projected net inflow to Upper Klamath Lake during the 2024 water year.

In a press release that same day, KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons expressed frustration: “This winter, we have watched water be released to flush sediment in the Klamath River to mitigate impacts of dam removal. We have bent over backwards to put water on our national wildlife refuges. Within a few weeks, Upper Klamath Lake will be completely full for the first time in seven years, and the snowpack is in good shape for this time of year. Yet we are looking at the fifth worst allocation in the 120 years since the Klamath Project was authorized.”

Despite these concerns, KWUA and member district managers continue to engage in constructive dialogue to improve the outlook.

“There is more water available that we should be able to access,” said KWUA Water Policy Director Moss Driscoll. “We are talking that through with tribes and agencies, constructively, carefully, and deliberately, but with a sense of urgency.”

This year, downstream dam removal activities dictate the maximum amounts of water that can be released to the Klamath River without compromising removal activities or public safety.

KWUA hopes there may be an improved water announcement soon, with a prospect of doing better than the still-conservative quantity we may see. But farmers, ranchers, and their bankers need to know what they must work with.

 

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Written by KWUA Staff for Basin Ag News, May 2024

Cover photo caption: Water flows through Link River Dam on its way downriver. Upper Klamath Lake and the Cascade Mountains can be seen in the distance. Photo by KWUA.

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