Klamath Falls, Ore. – Irrigation water is now flowing to farms and ranches on the Klamath Project.
Water began flowing down the ‘A’ canal Tuesday afternoon.
“It feels great.” Noted Gene Souza of the Klamath Irrigation District. “It’s a great opportunity to start off an irrigation season for the Klamath Basin.”
The water couldn’t start flowing until biological opinions were released, detailing the needs of endangered coho salmon downstream, and suckers above Upper Klamath Lake.
“These documents are available to the public.” Bureau of Reclamation Area Manager Jeff Nettleton points out. “And so we now are able to start operations for the 2019 irrigation season.”
The water is released gradually to prevent erosion, and ‘charge’ the system for use.
Souza explains the time frame. “It may take 7, 8, 9, 10 days for some of the smaller canals to get to the capacity where irrigators can actually get the water out of the canal for their fields.”
The water will be used to help irrigate nearly 360 square miles of farmland in southern Oregon and northern California.
The Klamath Project is expected to get about 325 thousand acre feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake.
That’s about 93% of a full allocation under the newest biological opinion.