Klamath Project 2014 Operations Plan Released

Media Contact: Margaret Gidding, 916-978-5100

For Release: April 08, 2014

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation announced today the release of the 2014 Operations Plan for the Klamath Project. The plan is based upon expected drier-than-normal hydrologic conditions from the April 1 Natural Resource Conservation Service inflow forecast as well as current reservoir elevations. The document describes the process by which Reclamation will allocate available supplies and continue to coordinate with water users on measures to reduce the impacts of limited Project water supplies.

The plan provides an estimate of the available water supply for the Klamath Project, the volume of water to be released to the Klamath River for coho salmon and the water supply to be reserved in Upper Klamath Lake for Lost River and shortnose suckers, consistent with the 2013 Biological Opinions on Klamath Project Operations. This information is used by agricultural water users, Klamath Basin Tribes, national wildlife refuge managers and others as a planning tool.

“Due to dry conditions, Klamath Basin communities are facing a third straight year of insufficient surface water for full Project deliveries,” remarked Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Deputy Regional Director Jason Phillips. “Reclamation and Project water users are working to ensure operations and available supplies are coordinated closely with water districts. In order to reduce Project demand and avoid involuntary curtailments of water, project landowner participation in the Klamath Water and Power Agency’s 2014 surface water forbearance program is essential.”  

During the 2014 water year, the Klamath Basin has received 75 percent of average precipitation since October 2013. The snowpack in the Basin is significantly lower than normal at 31 percent of average as of April 7.

As of April 1, Upper Klamath Lake had an elevation of 4,142.22 feet, resulting in approximately 425,744 acre-feet of storage. The NRCS forecast for April 1 to Sept. 30 inflows to the lake was 220,000 acre-feet, about 46 percent of average. Under these conditions, the Klamath Project irrigation supply from Upper Klamath Lake for the 2014 irrigation season is expected to be 239,000 acre-feet.

Based on current lake levels and forecasted inflows, the anticipated water supplies available for the 2014 irrigation season are zero acre-feet for Clear Lake Reservoir and 19,500 acre-feet for Gerber Reservoir.

To reduce project demand with the intent to eliminate or minimize involuntary water shortages for Klamath Project irrigators, the Klamath Water and Power Agency is administering demand-reduction measures, which are implemented through the Water Users Mitigation Program. 

The Klamath Project’s 2014 Operations Plan is available at www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao. If you encounter problems accessing the document, please call 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or email mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov.

For more information, please contact Ryan Madsen at 541-883-6935 or rdmadsen@usbr.gov.

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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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.