On April 13th, the Bureau of Reclamation announced its allocation for the Klamath Project’s 2023 irrigation season, which occurs between April 1 and September 30. In Reclamation’s press release and at KWUA’s annual meeting, the allocation for Klamath Project family farmers and ranchers from Upper Klamath Lake was set at 215,000 acre-feet.
Since the original allocation, the Bureau of Reclamation updated Klamath Project’s allocation on May 19th, citing “improved spring hydrology and updated forecasts”. The current allocation from Upper Klamath Lake is 260,000 acre-feet. For a full delivery to Klamath Project’s 230,000 acres of farms and two of the Klamath Basin’s national wildlife refuges, Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, Reclamation’s allocation would need to be 450,000 acre-feet.
The updated allocation of Upper Klamath Lake water to the Klamath Project means that there is an updated operations plan. Below is a PDF version of the 2023 Klamath Project Operations Plan. Points of interest from the 2023 Operations Plan include:
- Reclamation will operate the Klamath Project “using the formulaic approach to operations set forth in its December 21, 2018 biological assessment, as supplemented by the 2020 Interim Operations Plan (collectively referred to as the IOP), while using conservative forecasting”
- Allocations from Upper Klamath Lake for the Project were set surpass the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s biological opinion’s minimum elevation of 4,138 feet to end the 2023 irrigation season at 4,139.2 feet
- Starting May 1st in accordance to the IOP, 60,000 acre-feet “of flow augmentation was added to the EWA on top of the formulaic river flows calculated under the IOP, resulting in increased flows from Iron Gate through mid-June”
- Under the 2023 Klamath Project Operations Plan, water for Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is only available “when consistent with Reclamation’s contractual and other legal obligations”
To read the entire plan, download the Bureau of Reclamation’s 2023 Klamath Project Annual Operations Plan.