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.