- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) - With snowpack extremely low, users of Klamath Basin water are bracing for another dry growing season.

Just how much water will be available to farms on the Klamath Reclamation Project won’t be announced until next week, but the outlook is not good, the Herald and News reports (https://bit.ly/1GkCaoc).

Natural Resources Conservation Service maps show the Klamath Basin with 95 percent of normal precipitation, but only 7 percent of normal snowpack. Although the project’s main reservoir is close to full, two others are not, and low snowpack means reduced flows into rivers as the summer wears on.

Since 2001, farms on the project have had to share water with fish protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act, leading to irrigation cutbacks in dry years. The last three years have been dry.

Last year, the project got 61 percent of the water needed for full operations, and many expect even less this year.

“The general thing I hear from folks is that this year might end up being worse than the last,” Klamath Irrigation District Manager Mark Stuntebeck said.

Hollie Cannon, executive director of the Klamath Water and Power Agency, said he has no doubts the water allocation to the Klamath Project will be worse than last year

Langell Valley farmer Jill Nelson said she expects the second or third worst season ever. “It’s our livelihood. We absolutely live and die by the water situation,” she said.

Forecasts indicate the next three months will see normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation, said Sven Nelaimischkies, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Medford.

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Information from: Herald and News, https://www.heraldandnews.com

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