Reclamation releases 2018 Klamath Project operations and drought plans

Media Contact: Erin Curtis, 9169785100, eccurtis@usbr.gov

For Release: June 22, 2018

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation has released two plans for 2018 operations of the Klamath Project. The Operations and Drought plans are based on current reservoir storage and anticipated hydrologic conditions based on the June 1 Natural Resources Conservation Service inflow forecast. The Operations Plan outlines water deliveries during the 2018 spring-summer irrigation season for more than 230,000 irrigated acres on the Klamath Project in southern Oregon and northern California. The Operations Plan also addresses flows required by the 2017 Court Order and the 2013 Biological Opinion on Klamath Project Operations, and is used by agricultural water users, Klamath Basin Tribes and National Wildlife Refuge managers as a planning and informational tool.

Due to Project water supply shortages this year, Reclamation is also releasing the 2018 Drought Plan, which outlines contractual obligations for distribution of the available Project water supply.

“This a very challenging water year, both hydrologically and due to the court requirements,” said Jeff Nettleton, Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office Area Manager. “The lack of snowpack this year, combined with legal obligations to mitigate disease risk in coho salmon in the Klamath River, has resulted in a stressful irrigation season for irrigators and the overall community. I appreciate the willingness of the entire community to work together to seek solutions to meet these challenges. Careful management of irrigation and continued water conservation efforts will help to minimize negative impacts of the reduced water supply as we proceed through the season.”

Due to court requirements and very dry conditions, the Project is starting normal operations later than usual. As of June 1, total precipitation in the Upper Klamath Basin was 80 percent of average with no snowpack remaining. Cumulative inflows to Upper Klamath Lake for the 2018 water year are below the historic 20th percentile. The Project allocation from Upper Klamath Lake for the 2018 spring-summer irrigation season is 233,911 acre-feet, 60 percent of a full supply of 390,000 acre-feet under the 2013 Biological Opinion. As of June 18, Reclamation has delivered approximately 38,000 acre-feet from Upper Klamath Lake, leaving 196,000 acre-feet for the remainder of the irrigation season.

Water supplies from Gerber and Clear Lake Reservoirs for the 2018 irrigation season are anticipated to be near a full supply, approximately 34,000 acre-feet from Gerber and 37,000 acre-feet from Clear Lake Reservoir. As of June 18, a volume of 10,080 acre-feet has been released from Clear Lake and 8,799 acre-feet from Gerber Reservoir. Out of those volumes, approximately 2,700 acre-feet were provided to the westside of the Klamath Project.

The Project’s 2018 Operations and Drought Plans are available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao/programs/ops-planning.html.

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.