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Mid-Pacific Region
Sacramento, Calif.
Media Contact:
Pete Lucero
916-978-5100

Released On: March 10, 2009

Reclamation Announces Delayed Water Deliveries for Klamath Project

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation notified the Klamath Water Users Association and other local irrigators that low lake levels and low inflows into Upper Klamath Lake could result in a delayed start to the irrigation season.  The length of delay for starting water deliveries is dependent on the actual quantity and timing of inflow into the lake.

The current lake level is approximately 1.0 foot below the minimum elevation identified in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biological Opinion.  This level is in place to protect the habitat of endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake.  At this time the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) estimates that seasonal inflow will be about 71 percent of average.  The current lake level and lower than average estimated inflow may potentially delay the start of operations to mid-April with deliveries in late April.
"Based on NRCS estimates and lake levels, Reclamation will need to adjust Project operations accordingly," said Susan Fry, Area Manager for Reclamation's Klamath Project.  "It is critically important that when minimum lake levels are met, and Reclamation begins deliveries, irrigators conserve water at every opportunity.  Conservation is the key to having an adequate supply of water for the entire irrigation season."   

During this dry period, Reclamation is closely coordinating with the State of Oregon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,  and other Federal, State, and local organizations to examine all possible ways to fulfill its water supply obligations, which include the protection of fish and wildlife and associated habitats.

Reclamation will continue to update the website with the most current information regarding lake levels and estimated inflow.  For additional information, please contact the Mid-Pacific Region Public Affairs Office at 916-978-5100 or e-mail ibr2mprpao@mp.usbr.gov or visit the KBAO website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.