Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916-978-5100

For Release: April 09, 2003

Reclamation will release the Klamath Project Operations Plan (Plan) for Water Year 2003 on April 10, 2003, classifying this year as a "dry" year, based on the April 1, 2003 National Resources Conservation Service forecast. The Plan will identify quantities of water expected to be available for Klamath Basin water needs in this water year. Based on a "dry" water year, the quantity of water that will be available may be less than a full supply.

The Plan will cover water to be made available for Klamath Project agricultural users, as well as for refuge supplies and water used to meet environmental needs. The environmental needs include meeting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Biological Opinion (BO) for endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake, and the NOAA Fisheries BO for the endangered coho salmon in the Klamath River.

Meeting water needs this year will be enhanced by the Klamath Basin Water Bank, which has received an overwhelming response from basin farmers. The bank’s 50,000 acre feet of water will meet downstream fishery needs, and will be distributed through Iron Gate Dam throughout the 2003 irrigation season on a schedule provided by NOAA Fisheries.

Since it will be a dry year, Reclamation also stresses that project irrigators should conserve as much water as possible. Reclamation will also soon be initiating a campaign to keep water users and all basin stakeholders informed about the status of water use in the basin on an ongoing basis throughout the water use season.

Although not part of the Plan, Reclamation anticipates additional water to be delivered to the lower Klamath River for Tribal Trust requirements during this water season.

To receive a copy of the Plan, please contact Reclamation's Klamath Basin Area Office at 541-883-6935, TDD 541-883-6935. The Plan will also be available on Reclamation’s web site April 10, 2003, at: www.mp.usbr.gov/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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.