Reclamation Releases 2017 Klamath Project Operations Plan

Media Contact: Russell Grimes, 916-978-5100, rwgrimes@usbr.gov

For Release: April 11, 2017

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation today announced its 2017 Klamath Project (Project) Operations Plan (Plan). The Plan is based upon the expected hydrologic conditions from the April 1 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) inflow forecasts and current reservoir elevations.

“Klamath Project water users are looking forward to a great water year,” said Pablo Arroyave, Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Acting Regional Director. “We are experiencing the best hydrologic conditions since 2011, and it’s a refreshing start for the irrigation season.”

The Plan outlines water deliveries for the 2017 irrigation season for more than 200,000 irrigated acres in southern Oregon and northern California. The Plan provides an estimate of the 2017 water supply available for the Project and the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, the volume of water to be released to the Klamath River for Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed threatened coho salmon, and the volume of water to be reserved in Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) for ESA-listed endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers. The Plan is also used by agricultural water users, Klamath Basin tribes, national wildlife refuge managers, and others as a planning and informational tool.

As of April 1, the snowpack was 122 percent of average and the total precipitation was 139 percent of average. This is the first time the Klamath Basin has had a wet winter since the release in 2013 of the Biological Opinions on the Effects of Proposed Klamath Project Operations from May 31, 2013, through March 31, 2023, on Five Federally Listed Threatened and Endangered Species (2013 BiOp).

As of April 1, UKL had an elevation of 4,142.70 feet, which is equivalent to approximately 465,596 acre-feet of storage. The NRCS April 1 forecast for inflows to UKL from April 1 to Sept. 30 is 615,000 acre-feet, about 128 percent of average inflow. Under these conditions, the Project supply consistent with the 2013 BiOp from UKL for the 2017 irrigation season is expected to be 390,000 acre-feet, which is a full supply.

Based on current lake levels and projected inflows for Clear Lake and Gerber reservoirs, the anticipated water supplies for the 2017 irrigation season are 35,000 acre-feet from Clear Lake Reservoir and approximately 35,000 acre-feet from Gerber Reservoir; both are 100 percent of a full supply.

Despite a forecasted full supply, the Plan encourages water conservation to ensure available water throughout the season. Reclamation will manage Project deliveries throughout the irrigation season to meet requirements under the 2013 BiOp and all other legal and contractual obligations.

The Project’s 2017 Operations Plan is available online at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao/programs/ops-planning.html . 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 Laura Williams at 541-880-2581 or ljwilliams@usbr.gov.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.