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Press Release



Secretary Salazar Announces Additional Water Releases from Upper Klamath Lake to Klamath Irrigators



07/02/2010


Contacts: Joan Moody (Interior) 202-208-6416
Pete Lucero (Reclamation) 916-978-5100

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that 35,000 acre-feet of additional water may be available for release this year from Upper Klamath Lake for delivery to irrigation contractors. Current modeling estimates the additional water will be available because Upper Klamath Lake surface water elevations are higher than previously anticipated due to a cooler-than-normal spring resulting in lower evaporation rates and reduced irrigation demands above the lake and on the Klamath Project lands.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s 2010 Operations Plan for the Klamath Project previously indicated that 150,000 acre-feet of water would be available for irrigation contractors; however Reclamation’s modeling currently estimates that up to an additional 35,000 acre-feet could be made available during this irrigation season—for a possible total of 185,000 acre-feet. The actual amount of additional water available above the 2010 Operations Plan may change depending on conditions as the irrigation season progresses.

“This additional water is good news,” said Secretary Salazar, “but the Department of the Interior will intensify our efforts on behalf of all stakeholders because the Klamath Project is still receiving less than 50 percent of its historical average. Communication among stakeholders continues to be vital during the current drought.”

Secretary Salazar said that the Department, through its Bureau of Reclamation, will continue to work closely with irrigators, state and federal agencies, and Tribes to monitor the conditions closely with the goal being to satisfy Biological Opinion requirements, meet Tribal Trust responsibilities, and ensure that available water is used beneficially within the Klamath Project.

The irrigation districts will determine how best to use the additional water. Possible options for using the additional water include extending the irrigation season, providing water to lands not currently receiving Klamath Water and Power Agency support, or reducing the reliance on groundwater pumping.

Authorized in 1905, the Klamath Project, located in southern Oregon and Northern California, is one of the oldest projects of the Bureau of Reclamation. The Project’s facilities include the Link River, Gerber, Clear Lake, and Anderson-Rose Dams as well as nearly 142,000 acres of wetlands and wildlife refuges.  

Additional information and the 2010 Operations Plan is available at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao.

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