Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Rainfall swells Basin streamflow forecasts
May 17, 2005
Storm runoff rushing into
Upper Klamath Lake has boosted streamflow
forecasts for the summer, but it has yet to wash
away concerns about tight irrigation supplies in
the Klamath Basin.
Heavy rains during the
first two weeks of May pushed Upper Klamath Lake
inflow predictions from 48 percent for April to
September at the start of the month to 65 percent
inflow for May to September Monday, according to
the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
While it has delayed demand for irrigation water and provided watered crops already in the ground it has also delayed much of the planting of onions and potatoes - two of the Basin's biggest cash crops - because of muddy fields.
Irrigation season in the Klamath Basin
typically runs from April to mid-October. Solem
said there's little demand on the district right
now and there probably won't be for another week.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau
of Reclamation is still categorizing the year as
"dry" for both the lake and the Klamath River.
The Bureau's concern for a dry year comes from
the mountains, where the snowpack is less than
half of normal for this time of year. Upper
Klamath Lake has a large surface area but a
shallow depth, making it reliant on water from
snowmelt to keep filling it in late spring.
"The next best thing to a
deep snowpack is a spring rain," said George
Taylor, Oregon state climatologist.
"Prayers got answered," he said.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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