Reclamation provides early irrigation information to Klamath water users
At a meeting in Klamath Falls [Friday] afternoon, the Bureau of Reclamation provided a preliminary hydrology outlook to irrigators in the Klamath Basin. While the late start to the rainy season this year has delayed Reclamation’s ability to get a clear picture for the irrigation season, officials pledged to continue to provide as much information as possible as soon as possible heading into spring.
Irrigators were told that the snowpack and snow water equivalent so far in water year 2018 are well below average. Typically, snowpack builds through December and January and peaks about now, but this year is far from typical. Dry conditions so far have resulted in very low water inflows to Upper Klamath Lake, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service currently projects inflow to be about 54% of the historic average between March and September. The Klamath Basin would have to receive very significant amounts of rain and snow to catch up. In addition, the National Weather Service model currently predicts drought development is likely in a portion of the Klamath Basin.
“As we have heard today, the outlook for this year continues to be challenging. We will remain engaged and partnered with the County, Water Users, the State of Oregon and other stakeholders to ensure the best information and data is available as early as possible to aid farmers with their operational and business plans,” said Jeff Nettleton, Manager of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office.
“We would like nothing more than to be able to provide our Klamath Project contractors with an allocation for the year as soon as possible, and I assure you we are all working hard to get there,” said Nettleton. “We have been working hard with stakeholders and partner agencies to find a path forward this year despite the dire hydrologic conditions. Discussions about Project start timing with Klamath County, the Klamath Water Users Association and individual irrigation districts will continue and we hope to be able to provide more information in the coming weeks.”
In addition to the dry start to the season, Reclamation officials have been working through other issues that influence the 2018 operations and water supply allocation for the Klamath Project. Officials are evaluating a wide range of creative water management alternatives to ensure that legal requirements are upheld and impacts to Project irrigators for the 2018 irrigation season can be minimized. To help irrigators as they make operational and financial decisions for this year’s growing season, Reclamation plans to provide, as soon as practicable, the most current water forecast projections and preliminary water allocations for irrigators on the Klamath Project.
“We get updated forecast information every two weeks, and will share what our models show based on those updates with our irrigators as soon as it is available,” Nettleton said.
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. Visit our website at http://www.usbr.gov.
Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards nearly $3 million for forest health and watershed restoration projects
Yesterday the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Governing Board approved nearly $3 million in grants for projects that will reduce wildfire risk and restore forest and watershed health in the Sierra Nevada region. Funding for these projects comes from Proposition 1, The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. This is the sixth set of awards made under the SNC’s Proposition 1 grant program.
“The 2017 fire season in California was one of the most damaging, and really emphasized the need to focus on the health of our forests,” says Jim Branham, Executive Officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “Investing in projects in the Sierra Nevada, like the ones we’re supporting today, that reduce the risk of large, damaging wildfires, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and protect our water supply is critical for California’s future.”
In addition to meeting the requirements of Proposition 1, the projects awarded support the goals and objectives of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program, a large‑scale restoration program designed to address ecosystem health in the Sierra Nevada. This program is being coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service, and seeks to increase the pace and scale of restoration across the Sierra by increasing funding, addressing policy barriers, and increasing infrastructure needed to support restoration.
To date, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy has funded 47 Proposition 1 projects totaling $12,846,168 that support the restoration goals of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program. Additional information about each of these projects can be found at www.sierranevada.ca.gov.
About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy
Created in 2004, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region. The SNC has awarded over $65 million in grants for projects to protect and enhance the health of California’s primary watersheds by improving forest health, remediating mercury contamination from abandoned mines, protecting critical natural resources, and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Funding for these projects came from Proposition 84 passed by voters in 2006 and Proposition 1 passed by voters in 2014.
The Sierra Nevada Region spans 25 million acres, encompasses all or part of 22 counties, and runs from the Oregon border on the north to Kern County on the south. The Region is the origin of more than 60 percent of California’s developed water supply.
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