, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, July 19 2012 at 4:42 PM, Updated: Thu, July 19 2012 at 4:55 PM

Record drought in the midwest could soon have an impact on your grocery bills...does the Klamath Basin face similar conditions?

Richard Roseberg of the Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center notes that every year is technically a drought year in the Klamath Basin...

"Our summer rainfall does not allow for crop production.  It's only the fact that we can store snow in the mountains, and deliver it through our reservoir and irrigation systems that we can even grow crops here."

Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum notes that the Klamath Basin is prone to two types of drought - a natural drought, due to lack of rain or snow pack...

"The other type of drought comes from regulatory agencies, that actually manage the water supply here in Oregon."  Linthicum adds that agriculture might not always have priority for water in the Klamath Basin.  "And that's in conflict sometimes with the amount of water that's required for fish species in our rivers and lakes."

Kevin Moore of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says that Klamath Project farmers could still get less water if the rest of the summer is extremely hot...

"But I can tell you that all of the signs we look at, currently indicate that we're going to make it through this water year."

Richard Roseberg notes that conservation and communication are also helping to stretch water resources...

"Close cooperation between the water users, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the other water interests in the basin such as the Tribes - that's really allowed us to make it through this summer."

That, and a lot of help from Mother Nature...

If conditions were to worsen, the Klamath County Commissioners would need to ask the Governor for a drought declaration.  That declaration could help clear the way for federal assistance, allow for more pumping of groundwater, and other relief options.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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