Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Water bank needs 100,000 acre-feet
December 29, 2004
H&N Staff Writer
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials are required
to have 100,000 acre-feet in their water bank
coffers this year and could be relying heavily on
land idling to do so.
"If the lake fills, it is a different story," he
The Bureau considers the lake to be full when its
surface is at 4,143.3 feet above sea level. The
last time the lake hit that mark was in May 1996,
but it skimmed being full when it hit 4,143.2 in
late April and early May 2003, said Rae Olsen,
Other requirements include:
n Fields need to have been irrigated with surface
water in 2003 and 2004, or have been in one of the
prior water bank programs.
Completed and signed applications are due to the
Bureau by 4 p.m. Jan. 27.
The water bank is required by the National Marine
Fisheries Service's 2002 biological opinion, a
management guiding document, for the Project to
increase Klamath River flows for threatened coho
salmon. Baker said the water bank is still
considered a pilot project because its make up can
change greatly from year to year.
Ground water pumping, which was used last year and
will be used this year, is different because
participants can use Project water unless they are
asked to switch to ground water, Baker said. They
then can be asked to put some of the ground water
into the Project's canal system.
Each acre of idled land yields about 2.5 acre-feet
of water, he said. Applicants to the land idling
program submit bids on how much they want to get
paid. Baker said the Bureau will be looking to get
the most water for the least amount.
For more information, call Baker or Phil Graf,
also a special projects manager, at 883-6935 or
e-mail Baker at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Graf at
Water-saving ideas sought
Bureau officials ask for as much detail as
possible be included in the ideas and proposals so
they can thoroughly evaluate them. The more
information, the better the chance of being
accepted, according to a Bureau press release.
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