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Irrigation water released, canals fill
Officials anticipate normal water year
by SARA HOTTMAN, Herald and News 4/5/11
     The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released water into the A Canal Friday, the first day of the water season, marking the start of a normal water year after several poor years.

   “This should be a good year for you folks, and a well-deserved good year,” Greg Addington, director of the Klamath Water Users Association, told irrigators at a meeting last week.

   Flows in the A Canal were 91 cubic feet per second by Sunday.

   The Bureau released water into the canal before it released its operations plan for the year. Kevin Moore, public relations specialist for the Bureau, said the plan should be ready Wednesday.  

   “The operations plan is running a little late because of the (Natural Resources Conservation Service water) forecast,” Moore said, “but we’re optimistic we’ll have a normal water year so we’re starting on time.”

   Last year at this time, the A Canal wasn’t flowing. The Bureau didn’t release water to Klamath Reclamation Project growers until more than a month after the beginning of the water year.

   Upper Klamath Lake was at around 4,140 feet at the beginning of April 2010, compared with over 4,143 feet now.

   A dry winter meant little snowpack, which led the Bureau to deliver only about 40 percent of the surface     water farmers typically get in order to preserve water for endangered fish species.

   Growers had to idle land, farm in far-off fields, or use groundwater, which is expensive to pump.

   Jason Phillips, area manager for the Bureau, told Klamath Water Users Association members Thursday at their annual meeting that they should expect full contract deliveries this water year, April through September.

   Even growers on the east side of the Project who use Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoir can expect full deliveries, he said. Last year western Langell Valley didn’t receive any surface water.

   Wildlife refuges in Lower Klamath and Tule Lake didn’t get water last year either. So far this year they’ve received about 31,000 acre feet.

   “I’m just glad it’s a wet year,” Phillips said. “No matter what we do operations wise, it makes all our jobs easier.”



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