Programs & Activities

Klamath Restoration

Special Projects

This page describes efforts by the Klamath Basin Area Office to seek long-term, durable solutions to water and power issues in the Klamath Basin.  In contrast with programs that direct the Project’s day-to-day operations, Special Projects include planning efforts to better understand the resources, challenges, and opportunities facing the Project in the long-term.

Climate Change

It is the policy of the Department of the Interior to effectively and efficiently adapt to the challenges posed by climate change to its mission, programs, operations, and personnel. The Department will use the best available science to increase understanding of climate change impacts, inform decision making, and coordinate an appropriate response to impacts on land, water, wildlife, cultural and tribal resources, and other assets. The Department will integrate climate change adaptation strategies into its policies, planning, programs, and operations.

The Klamath River Basin Study aims to assess the impacts of climate change on water supply and demand in the watershed from its headwaters to the mouth, and identify current and projected water supply shortages, as well as potential strategies to plan for and mitigate gaps.  The study also addresses a need in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (Section 19.4) for an understanding of the impacts of long-term climate change on the fisheries and communities of the Klamath Basin.  The Basin Study is authorized and funded under Reclamation’s WaterSMART program.   Additional information on the Basin Study is here and here.


Managing available water in the upper Klamath Basin to meet the needs of fish as well as irrigation is difficult because of limited storage capacity. Water managers would have more flexibility to meet the water needs of both irrigators and aquatic wildlife if they had the ability to store water during the winter and spring for use later in the season and to store water on an interannual basis for use during droughts.  The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) explored the possibility of managed underground storage and recovery of water to fill the need for seasonal and interannual storage of water.

A preliminary assessment of the hydrogeologic feasibility of managed underground storage and recovery of water was conducted for 14 areas in the upper Klamath Basin of Oregon and California. The assessment was based on available geologic, stratigraphic, and hydrologic information from published maps, reports, and well logs. The assessment also relied on the recent characterization of the regional groundwater system by the U.S. Geological Survey. The preliminary assessment considered hydrogeologic factors only; water quality, water availability, and cost were not considered.

Here is the link to the Upper Klamath Basin Offstream Storage Investigation Final Report - (PDF 34.3MB).

This work was authorized under the Klamath Basin Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-498), which directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct feasibility studies of “increasing the storage capacity, and/or the yield of the Klamath Project facilities while improving water quality, consistent with the protection of fish and wildlife” in order to reduce conflicts over water.


The Klamath Basin Area Office (KBAO) has developed a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Water Quality Monitoring and Compliance Plan to meet states of Oregon and California TMDL requirements. Using sound scientific information obtained from monitoring, modeling, research, and available water quality improvement technologies, KBAO is working towards implementing the most cost effective water quality improvement projects to help attain TMDL goals.

Water User Mitigation Program (WUMP)

The Water User Mitigation Program (WUMP) is the latest in a series of feasibility studies begun in 2001 under the Klamath Basin Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-498) of “the potential for development of additional Klamath Basin groundwater supplies to improve water quantity and quality, including the effect of such groundwater development on nonproject lands, groundwater and surface water supplies, and fish and wildlife,” and “the potential for further innovations in the use of existing water resources, or market-based approaches, in order to meet growing water needs consistent with State water law…” in order to reduce conflicts over water.

The WUMP study has been running since 2008 and will end in December, 2015.  The study has multiple elements, including:

Data gathering on the Klamath Basin water market, i.e., what prices irrigators on the Klamath Project will accept to forego the use of Project surface water and instead pump groundwater or refrain from irrigation altogether;

Providing resources to support the development of a stakeholder-managed water supplementation program, then assessing the performance of such an organization and program;

Understanding the capacity of the Klamath Basin groundwater resource and the limits on its ability to contribute to a water supplementation program;

Providing short-term relief from shortages in Project water supply, reducing conflicts over water by reducing the incidence of uncompensated curtailments in Project water supply and increasing water availability to the Klamath Basin refuges.

Final reports for the WUMP study will be issued in early 2016.

The WUMP is operated by the Klamath Water and Power Agency (KWAPA) under a cooperative agreement with Reclamation.  For further questions regarding the WUMP, please contact KWAPA.

On-Project Plan

The On-Project Plan (OPP) is a component of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA).  Section 15.2 of the KBRA assigns responsibility for developing, implementing and administering the OPP to the Klamath Water and Power Agency (KWAPA).  The objective of the OPP is to develop a strategy to align irrigation water supply and demand for portions of the Klamath Project in a future that includes reduced, but more certain, supplies of Project irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River.

Reclamation is supporting KWAPA’s development of the OPP through a cooperative agreement authorized under the Klamath Basin Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-498) as a feasibility study of innovative strategies to reduce conflicts over water in the Klamath Basin.

KWAPA’s web site provides access to the OPP Technical Memoranda.

The OPP is currently undergoing environmental compliance activities.  Click here for more information.


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Last Updated: 6/8/17