Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Reclamation PRESS RELEASE
Mid-Pacific Region Sacramento, CA MP-07-014
February 6, 2007
Deadline Nears for Participating in Bureau of Reclamation’s 2007 Water Acquisition Program
The Bureau of Reclamation is accepting applications from farmers and ranchers who want to participate in the 2007 Klamath Basin Water Supply Enhancement Study (WSES), formally known as the Water Bank, through February 15, 2007. Water purchased through the 2007 WSES will be used to supplement water supplies as needed to meet Klamath Project purposes, including irrigation demand and Endangered Species Act protected fish. The current forecast indicates the water year type will be below average for both the Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River.
To guard against potential shortages, Reclamation intends to contract for approximately 100,000 acre-feet of water. To acquire the needed water within the available budget, Reclamation may have to rely more on the dryland operation (land idling) program than on groundwater substitution or pumping because of the cost per acre-foot paid in 2006 for pumped groundwater.
Participation is open to all users of surface water above Keno Dam, including non-Project users, except lands above Harpold Dam, Federal lease lands, and lands under temporary surplus water contracts (“C lands”). Eligibility is limited to field units that have been irrigated in the recent past. Field units must have been irrigated (surface or groundwater) in at least one of the past 3 years (2004, 2005, or 2006). Only complete field units of at least 20 contiguous acres are eligible.
For dryland operation, Reclamation is accepting applications from individuals, groups, partnerships, and companies willing to forego irrigation of their lands during the 2007 irrigation season in exchange for payment. For groundwater substitution options, Reclamation is accepting applications from individuals, groups, partnerships, and companies willing to alternate between surface water irrigation and groundwater irrigation during the 2007 irrigation season at Reclamation’s request. Payment will be based on the documented quantity of groundwater pumped. Oregon landowners must provide documentation of a Supplemental Water Right for the groundwater sources and fields in this program, as it is unknown whether drought permits will be issued in 2007.
Jennifer Birri, Water and Lands Specialist, will be at the Klamath Irrigation District office from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 7, 2007, and at the Tulelake Irrigation District office from 12:00 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, February 8, 2007. She will be accepting applications, answering questions, and offering assistance to anyone applying for the 2007 WSES.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the Klamath Basin Area Office for details and may make an appointment to discuss their particular operational situation prior to submittal of their final bid. Completed and signed applications and all documentation must be submitted for consideration to the Klamath Basin Area Office, 6600 Washburn Way, Klamath Falls, OR 97603, by 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2007.
The Tulelake Irrigation District office is located at 2717 Havlina Road in Tulelake. The Klamath Irrigation District office is located at 6640 K.I.D. Lane, on Short Road near Henley. Program information, application forms, and a sample contract are available on the Klamath Basin Area Office Web site at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao. For additional information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Birri, Mr. Mike Neuman, or Mr. Bud Zangger at 541-883-6935 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.
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