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General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits
General Description

The irrigable lands of the Klamath Project are in south-central Oregon (62 percent) and north-central California (38 percent). The Project provides full service water to approximately 210,000 acres of cropland. 

Two main sources supply water for the project: Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River; and Clear Lake Reservoir, Gerber Reservoir, and Lost River, which are located in a closed basin.

The total drainage area, including the Lost River and the Klamath River watershed above Keno, Oregon, is approximately 5,700 square miles.

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The Upper Klamath River Basin has extensive land and water resources which are not fully developed. The terrain varies from rugged, heavily timbered mountain slopes to rolling sagebrush benchlands and broad, flat valleys. The project plan includes construction of facilities to divert and distribute water for irrigation of basin lands, including reclamation of Tule and Lower Klamath Lakes, and control of floods in the area.

Facility Descriptions

Clear Lake Dam and Reservoir

Clear Lake Dam and Reservoir on the Lost River in California, about 19 miles southeast of Malin, Oregon, provide storage for irrigation and reduce flow into the reclaimed portion of Tule Lake and the restricted Tule Lake Sumps in Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge. The dam is a roller compacted concrete structure with a height of 42 feet and a crest length of 840 feet.  The reservoir has a capacity of 527,000 acre-feet.

Gerber Dam and Reservoir

Gerber Dam and Reservoir, on Miller Creek 14 miles east of Bonanza, Oregon, provides storage for irrigation and reduces flow into the reclaimed portions of Tule Lake and the restricted Tule Lake Sumps in the Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge. The dam, a concrete arch structure, has a height of 84.5 feet and a crest length of 460 feet. Reservoir capacity is 94,300 acre-feet.

Link River Dam

Link River Dam on Link River at the head of Klamath River and just west of Klamath Falls, Oregon, regulates flow from Upper Klamath Lake Reservoir. This reservoir is a principal source of water for the project. The dam is a reinforced concrete slab structure with a height of 22 feet and a crest length of 435 feet. The reservoir has a capacity of 873,000 acre-feet and is operated by the Pacific Power and Light Company, subject to Klamath Project rights.

Lost River Diversion Dam

Lost River Diversion Dam is on Lost River about 4 miles below Olene, Oregon. The dam diverts excess water to the Klamath River through the Lost River Diversion Channel and restrains downstream flow in Lost River to control or restrict flooding of the reclaimed portions of the Tule Lake bed and to regulate the flow into the restricted sumps of the Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge. It is a horseshoe shaped, multiple-arch concrete structure with earth embankment wings. The structural height is 42 feet and crest length is 675 feet.

Anderson-Rose Diversion Dam

Anderson-Rose Diversion Dam (formerly Lower Lost River Diversion Dam), on Lost River about 3 miles southeast of Merrill, Oregon, diverts water to serve the lands reclaimed from the bed of Tule Lake. The dam is a reinforced concrete slab and buttress structure with a height of 23 feet and a crest length of 324 feet.

Malone Diversion Dam

Malone Diversion Dam, on Lost River about 11 miles downstream from Clear Lake Dam, diverts water to serve lands in Langell Valley. This dam, an earth embankment with a concrete gate structure, has a height of 32 feet and a crest length of 515 feet.

Miller Diversion Dam

Miller Diversion Dam, on Miller Creek 8 miles below Gerber Dam, diverts water to serve lands in Langell Valley. The dam is a concrete weir, removable crest, and earth embankment wing structure with a height of 10 feet and a crest length of 290 feet.

Lost River Diversion Channel

Lost River Diversion Channel extends nearly 8 miles from the Lost River Diversion Dam to the Klamath River. The channel carries excess water to the Klamath River and supplies additional irrigation water for the reclaimed lake bed of Tule Lake by reverse flow from the Klamath River.

Canals, Laterals, and Drains

There are 19 canals that total 185 miles and have diversion capacities ranging from 35 to 1,150 cubic feet per second. Laterals total 490 miles and drains 545 miles.

Pumping Plants

There are 3 major pumping plants with power input ranging from 1,120 to 3,650 horsepower and capacities from 60 to 388 cubic feet per second, and 33 pumping plants of less than 1,000 horsepower. Two pumping plants are under construction, each with 750 horsepower and capacity of 300 cubic feet per second.

Tule Lake Tunnel

Tule Lake Tunnel, a concrete-lined structure 6,600 feet in length with a capacity of 250 cubic feet per second, conveys drainage water from Tule Lake restricted sumps to Lower Klamath Lake.

`A` Canal Tunnel

This 3,300-foot tunnel, a part of the `A` Canal, has a capacity of 1,150 cubic feet per second and conveys irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake to serve approximately 63,000 acres.

Klamath Straits Drain

Work on increasing this drain`s capacity from 300 to 600 cubic feet per second was completed in 1981. The drain conveys drainage water from Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and from irrigated land which has been reclaimed from Lower Klamath Lake. The drain extends from the State Line Road approximately 20 miles north-westerly to Klamath River. The drain removes the excess winter flows and the drainage from the lower closed basin to the Klamath River.

Operating Agencies

Clear Lake Dam, Gerber Dam, and the Lost River Diversion Dam are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Link River Dam is operated by the Pacific Power and Light Company in accordance with project needs. The Anderson-Rose Diversion Dam is operated by the Tulelake Irrigation District, and the Langell Valley Irrigation District operates the Malone and Miller Diversion Dams. The canals and pumping plants are operated by the various irrigation districts.

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Irrigation of agricultural lands in the area now comprising the Klamath Project was initiated in 1882 with construction of an irrigation ditch to the land from White Lake. Private interests further developed the project by constructing the Adams Canal in 1886, which was supplied also from White Lake, and the Ankeny Canal in 1887, which diverted water from Link River. By 1903, approximately 13,000 acres were irrigated by private interests.


In 1903, the Reclamation Service made investigations which led in 1904 to the first withdrawal of land by the Secretary of the Interior for developing a Federal irrigation project. Early in 1905, California and Oregon ceded certain rights in Upper and Lower Klamath Lakes and Tule Lake to the United States. On May 1, 1905, a board of engineers made a report that served as the basis for authorization.


The Secretary of the Interior authorized development of the project on May 15, 1905, under provisions of the Reclamation Act of 1902 (32 Stat. 388).


Construction began on the project in 1906 with the building of the main `A` Canal. Water was first made available May 22, 1907, to the lands now known as the Main Division. This initial construction was followed by the completion of Clear Lake Dam in 1910, the Lost River Diversion Dam and many of the distribution structures in 1912, and the Lower Lost River Diversion Dam in 1921. (In 1970, a public dedication at the Lower Lost River Diversion Dam officially changed the name of the structure to Anderson-Rose Diversion Dam.)

  • The Malone Diversion Dam on Lost River was built in 1923 to divert water to Langell Valley.
  • The Gerber Dam on Miller Creek was completed in 1925;
  • the Miller Diversion Dam was built in 1924 to divert water released from Gerber Dam.

A contract executed February 24, 1917, between the California-Oregon Power Company (now the Pacific Power and Light Company) and the United States authorized the company to construct Link River Dam for the benefit of the project and for the company`s use, and in particular extended to the water users of the Klamath Project certain preferential power rates. The dam was completed in 1921. The contract was amended and further extended for a 50-year period on April 16, 1956

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Approximately 210,000 acres of rangeland have been transformed into productive farmland. Principal irrigated crops are barley, irrigated pasture, alfalfa hay and other hay, oats, potatoes, and wheat.


Project reservoirs offer various recreational activities, including boating, water skiing, fishing, hunting, camping, and picnicking. Recreation facilities at Lower Klamath Lake, Tule Lake, and Upper Klamath Lake are administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Bureau of Land Management administers Gerber Reservoir recreation facilities, while facilities at Malone and Wilson Reservoirs are administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. Clear Lake Reservoir is a part of Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and the recreation opportunities are limited.

For information about recreation in the Klamath Project, click on the names below

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Last updated: May 11, 2011