Klamath Irrigation District says canals are in bad shape due to lack of water

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. —The ongoing drought conditions only continues to make matters worse for Klamath irrigators and farmers.

The Klamath Irrigation District says the canals it operates and maintains, haven’t seen water in over 18 months. Executive Director Gene Souza, says that on March 1st it opened the valve for the A Canal, a primary diversion point for Upper Klamath Lake. That allowed water to go into the system very slowly.

He says with the lack of moisture, the canals are in bad shape. Souza says the clay material had separated against rocks that were in the canal bank itself, creating voids, and unable to put the water to beneficial use.

“In some cases, it’s just irreparable putting it back to the way it was originally designed, trying to put those materials back into a configuration or hold water is just not possible with the kind of soils that we got,” said Souza.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the ability to start irrigation on April 15th.

Since then Souza’s had maintenance crews working to try to address the cracks and holes, and shut off the water as needed, so they can start delivering water once again.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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