Klamath Project farmers are being warned to prepare for possible water shortages this season.
Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association received the notice from the Bureau of Reclamation...
"Snow pack is not what it is, we're facing a potential drought, potentially worse than 2010, which is the last time we were short on water."
Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Kevin Moore says "The letter is Reclamation's effort to reach out to our irrigation contractors, and let them know that there are some concerns about the upcoming water year."
Current snow pack levels in the Klamath Basin are at 73% of average, and that could translate to a repeat of 2010 - when there was a late start to the irrigation season, and only about a third of irrigators received any water. Those that did receive water received less than the usual amount.
"We're looking at two out of the last three years, not having enough water." Noted Greg Addington.
Kevin Moore of Reclamation says that there are some factors that could help farmers this year...
"Currently, there's a little over a foot more in the lake than there was in 2010." A land idling program could also help to free up some available irrigation water. "Another positive sign is the weather that we're receiving right now."
Greg Addington notes that some farmers may have to rely on wells, much as they did in 2010...
"But doing that again is going to be very difficult. We don't think we can pump that much groundwater here again that soon."
The Bureau of Reclamation expects to have a clearer picture of how much water will be available sometime in early April.