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KWUA to hold public meeting on drought, irrigation water supply

Herald and News 2/27/2020

Klamath Water Users Association and the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency will host a public meeting on March 5, 2020, at 1 p.m., at the Klamath County Fairgrounds, Building #2, to present information on irrigation water supply availability in the upcoming growing season.

“The first official estimate of what we may have as a water supply is based on March 1 conditions in the basin,” said Tulelake Irrigation District Manager Brad Kirby. “That’s not the final word by any means, but growers and districts need to plan based on the best information we have.”

Through January, snowpack and anticipated run-off for storage, diversion, and use during the irrigation season were favorable. “We’ve had an abrupt, negative change in expected run-off,” according to Klamath Drainage District Manager Scott White. It seems likely that there will be water shortages. “Even if the precipitation picks up, we will need extensive coordination with producers and the Bureau of Reclamation to minimize the negative effects,” White said.

DRA will also provide information on programs that will aid assistance to growers and well owners. “Right now, some things need to fall into place very quickly in order to have programs similar to those of 2018 that will help Project irrigators mitigate drought,” said DRA President Marc Staunton. “I hope we will know more by next week.”

The amount of irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake depends on volumes in Upper Klamath Lake in spring and anticipated inflow expected through September, according to Klamath Irrigation District Manager Gene Souza. “Right now, that computation does not look good. KID is working with all of the districts and the Bureau to make the best of what may be a tough situation.”

KWUA will publish and update the most current information on irrigation water supply and DRA programs on its website at kwua.org. “100 percent of our time and energy is devoted to maximizing deliveries and avoiding or mitigating impacts of shortage,” said KWUA President Tricia Hill. “We strongly encourage growers to contact us for any information at any time.”

Representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation will also be in attendance. Hill said that KWUA and Reclamation plan to host another public meeting later in March.



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