Klamath Water Woes Wreaking Havoc Along California-Oregon Border

Bleak story from the Associated Press via the Seattle Times.

The water issues that are plaguing Northern California are dire along the Klamath River basin. Here’s more from the story:

More than 1,000 farmers and ranchers who draw water from a 257-mile-long (407-kilometer) river that flows from the Upper Klamath Lake to the Pacific Ocean will have access to roughly one-seventh the amount they could get in a wetter year, a federal agency announced Monday. Downstream salmon will receive about half the water they’d get if the reservoir was full.

It’s the third year in a row that severe drought has impacted farmers, fish and tribes in a region where there’s not enough water to satisfy competing demands. Last year, no water at all flowed through the Klamath Reclamation Project’s main irrigation canal, and thousands of downstream juvenile salmon died without reservoir releases to support the Klamath River’s health.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the irrigation project, announced $15 million in relief for affected farmers and $5 million for Native American tribes as a result of its decision and warned farmers not to take water beyond what was ordered or risk further irrigation reductions and legal action. The agency decides the allocations each year, taking into account court rulings that require certain lake levels to support two federally endangered fish species.