Bureau of Reclamation Implements Klamath Project 2014 Drought Plan Measures

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Reclamation announced today the release of the 2014 Drought Plan for the Klamath Project. The Plan describes the background for and process of allocating the available Klamath Project water supply from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River during the 2014 spring/summer irrigation season (March 1 to November 15), consistent with the system of contractual priorities that exist within the Project.

The persistent drought conditions coupled with limited participation in demand management measures have required the release of the 2014 Drought Plan for the Klamath Project.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today the release of the 2014 Drought Plan for the Klamath Project. The Plan describes the background for and process of allocating the available Klamath Project water supply from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River during the 2014 spring/summer irrigation season (March 1 to November 15), consistent with the system of contractual priorities that exist within the Project.

Persistent drought conditions and less than expected participation in voluntary drought mitigation measures have led to the need for a formal allocation of the available Project supply from UKL and the Klamath River. In this situation, when available water supplies are insufficient to meet the demands of all Klamath Project contractors, Reclamation is contractually obligated to allocate the available supplies. At this time, Reclamation is identifying a reduced supply for its Warren Act Contractors. Overall Project water supply availability may be updated as the year progresses.

As the 2014 Drought Plan explains, at this time, Project deliveries from UKL and the Klamath River need to be limited to one (1) acre-foot of surface water available per acre of irrigable land under Warren Act contract. Reclamation will reevaluate the available supply for Warren Act contractors following the June 1 inflow forecast by the National Resources Conservation Service. Reclamation will increase the allocation if information supports such a decision. Factors that could result in an increased allocation include water conservation efforts, water rights administration and additional voluntary demand management measures.

“The Klamath Basin communities are facing a third straight dry water year, resulting in insufficient surface water for full Project deliveries,” remarked Jason Phillips, Deputy Regional Director for Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region. “The persistent drought conditions coupled with limited participation in demand management measures have required the release of the 2014 Drought Plan for the Klamath Project. Reclamation and Project water users will continue to work together to ensure operations and allocations of Project water supply are coordinated closely with the water districts.”

Since the start of the 2014 spring/summer irrigation season, Reclamation has been coordinating with Klamath Project water users regarding the necessity for and timing of any decision to allocate available water supplies. At the beginning of April, there existed the possibility that with sufficient drought mitigation measures, Reclamation would not need to make an allocation of the available supply from UKL and the Klamath River. However, during the month of April, the Upper Klamath Basin received below average precipitation, and despite strong initial interest in the Klamath Water and Power Agency’s Water Users Mitigation Program, many applicants to the program ultimately chose not to participate.

The Klamath Project’s 2014 Drought Plan is available at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao. If you encounter problems accessing the document, please call 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or email mppublicaffairs(at)usbr(dot)gov.

For more information, please contact Tara Jane Campbell Miranda, Acting Public Affairs Specialist, Klamath Basin Area Office, at tcampbellmiranda at usbr.gov or 541-883-6935.

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Louis Moore
Bureau of Reclamation
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