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Basin Report: Klamath RiverA map of the Klamath River Basin

The Klamath River originates in headwater streams of south-central Oregon, eventually flowing southwest through the Cascade Range and picking up runoff from the Shasta, Scott, Salmon and Trinity Rivers in California before flowing to the Pacific Ocean. Reclamation's Klamath Project provides irrigation water to approximately 210,000 acres of cropland and is an important recreation area for residents of northern California and southern Oregon, providing myriad boating, water skiing, fishing, hunting, camping and picnicking opportunities. Surplus water from the Trinity River is stored, regulated and diverted through a system of dams, reservoirs, tunnels and powerplants into the Sacramento River for use in water-deficient areas of the Central Valley of California. To protect these critical resources, Reclamation must continually evaluate and report on the risks and impacts from a changing climate and to identify appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies utilizing the best available science in conjunction with stakeholders.

Future Changes in Climate and Hydrology

Reclamation's 2011 SECURE Water Act Report identifies climate challenges the Klamath River Basin could likely face:

Future Impacts for Water and Environmental Resources

These historical and projected climate changes have potential impacts for the basin:

Adequate and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health, economy and ecology of the United States and global climate change poses a significant challenge to the protection of these resources. Reclamation is taking a leading role in assessing risks to Western U.S. water resources and is dedicated to mitigate risks to ensure long-term water resource sustainability through its WaterSMART Program.

Where opportunities exist, Reclamation has begun adaptation actions in response to climate stresses as well as land use, population growth, invasive species and others.  These activities include extending water supplies, water conservation, hydropower production, planning for future operations and supporting rural water development. For example, the Trinity River Fishery Restoration Program is appraising alternatives that would improve the current cold water transmission through the Lewiston Reservoir, therefore increasing the adaptability for future climate change stressors that may impact cold water yield to the reservoir from the drainage basin. Finally, the Department of the Interior High Priority Goal for Climate includes activities of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Climate Science Centers, assessing vulnerabilities to the natural and cultural resources management by the Department and activities to adapt to the stresses of climate change.

This fact sheet contains information from the SECURE Water Act Section 9503(c) - Reclamation Climate Change and Water 2011, Section 4 - Basin Report: Klamath. The full report may be read online at www.usbr.gov/climate.

Fact Sheet in PDF

Last updated: 4/25/11