Klamath Falls, Ore. – While the country is in the grips of a pandemic, Klamath Project farmers face the additional challenge of drought conditions.
April first traditionally marks the start of irrigation season on the Klamath Project.
Jeffrey Nettleton of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation notes the water will begin flowing Tuesday. “Tomorrow, they are going to open up the ‘A’ canal, and start charging the canal.”
It will take about 2 weeks for the water to flow through nearly 200 miles of canals.
“They’re just opening up those to charge the canals.” Explains Nettleton. “So that they’re ready to deliver water when it’s needed.”
Recent rains have boosted Klamath Basin mountain snowpack levels to about 88% of normal.
In an average year, the project would get about 325,000 acre feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake.
Nettleton notes the proposed allocation is less than half that amount. “We’re currently anticipating a project supply of around 140,000 acre feet.”
That amount is based on figures currently under review.
“We actually anticipate finalizing the environmental assessment around April 17th.” Nettleton states, adding federal funds will help farmers with the costs of groundwater pumping, and land idling. “They have 1.7 million already to work with , and Reclamation made another 8.3 million.”
The Klamath Project covers about 360 square miles in southern Oregon and northern California.
Public comment will be taken through April 10th on a proposed environmental assessment.
You’ll find a link to that report here: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=37522