Wednesday April 13, 2022


Though more than an inch and a half of fresh snow blanketed Klamath Falls Monday morning, it wasn’t enough to counteract a nearly three-year drought — one of the area’s worst in recorded history.

The region’s hydrology has improved slightly from last year. In 2021 farmers received zero irrigation water, dead juvenile salmon littered the banks of the Klamath River and a few extremist irrigators threatened to divert water by force. Still, no single party in the watershed is getting close to what they need.

“We wish we had better news today,” said Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. “Obviously there are no winners in this critical year as all interests are suffering — fisheries, tribes, farmers and waterfowl alike. But given the current hydrology that we have to work with, we did the best job we could.”

Tributaries that feed into Upper Klamath Lake, a modified natural lake and the project’s principal source of stored water, are experiencing some of their lowest flows on record this year. Brian Person, special advisor to Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office, said the total amount of water that entered the lake between October 1, 2021, and early this April is only slightly higher than the same period a year ago, which was the lowest on record.

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