KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation and PacifiCorp have announced that, due to the drought conditions being experienced in the Klamath Basin during the 2014 water year, PacifiCorp has agreed to a proposal which will allow flexibility in managing water currently stored in its Klamath River hydroelectric reservoirs.
Under the proposal, PacifiCorp would release up to 20,000 acre-feet of water from its reservoirs, as needed, to meet required Iron Gate Dam releases pursuant to the 2013 joint Biological Opinions for Reclamation’s Klamath Project in such a way to ensure Upper Klamath Lake remains above specified minimum elevations. After the irrigation season has concluded, Reclamation and PacifiCorp will meet and discuss the timing of returning water to the hydroelectric reservoirs, in a manner that is consistent with the BiOp.
Although Reclamation will continue restricting Klamath Project irrigation water supplies through certain Project facilities, this proposal will assist Reclamation by extending the Klamath Project’s available water supplies from Upper Klamath Lake to help close the irrigation season. The agreed-to proposal will also assist Reclamation in supporting culturally significant tribal trust responsibilities. “Reclamation applauds PacifiCorp's willingness to consider and agree to a proposal that will assist in alleviating impacts being felt by both Klamath Project water users and natural resources as a result of the 2014 drought,” said Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Deputy Regional Director Jason Phillips. “We appreciate the collaboration and coordination shown by PacifiCorp and the support for this proposal expressed by our federal partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. This proposal is an opportunity to positively contribute to the health of federally listed fish species in Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River, supports tribal interests, and will prove beneficial to Project irrigators for the 2014 water year during these critical drought conditions.”
Reclamation has been coordinating with PacifiCorp, stakeholders, USFWS, and NMFS in an attempt to identify, assess, and determine what conservation strategies and flexibility exists to more effectively manage available water supplies to meet the competing demands for water in the Klamath Basin.
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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 www.usbr.gov.