Klamath County, Ore. – You heard it first from NBC5 in January that Klamath County Commissioners were pursuing a drought declaration. That declaration was signed Tuesday.
“It was the 28% snow water equivalent we have right now in snowpack in the mountains,” explained Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd. “And, the fact that Mother Nature has not been good to us in the 17-18 snow year.”
It’s likely that those low mountain snowpack levels will translate to a late start for the irrigation season.
Boyd said Klamath County Commissioners were planning to make the declaration earlier this month. “We held off declaring a drought, making sure the insurance programs, and all the timing was correct so that our irrigators had the opportunity to get the best benefit out of it.”
Commissioners say a drought could cost Klamath County’s ag industry over $557,000,000, and 4500 jobs.
The Endangered Species Act could also tighten water supplies for project farmers.
Tribes are calling for higher lake levels for endangered sucker fish above the Klamath Project, and increased river flows for endangered salmon below the project.
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