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PacifiCorp lowering Klamath hydro project reservoirs to support basin agriculture needs

Iron Gate and Copco Reservoirs to drop about five feet below normal

Klamath FallsOre. —PacifiCorp began reducing flows out of Link River Dam in Klamath Falls Thursday afternoon in response to a request from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to assist efforts to meet competing demands for water in the Klamath Basin.

The reduced flows out of Link River will result in lower water levels in the Iron Gate and Copco reservoirs, located along the Klamath River in Siskiyou County, California. Flows out of Link River Dam will drop from about 1,600 cubic feet per second on Thursday morning to about 400 cfs by Monday.

Adjusting operations of the Klamath hydro project will allow 10,500 acre-feet of water to be retained in Upper Klamath Lake. This will allow the Bureau of Reclamation to divert an equivalent amount of water to allow irrigators to charge their canals and begin the irrigation season, while also complying with Klamath River flow and Upper Klamath Lake level requirements to benefit endangered and threatened fish.

While the resulting drop in water levels at Iron Gate and Copco reservoirs will be noticeable, boat ramps and other recreational opportunities should not be impacted under the current drawdown plan.

“It’s unfortunately another challenging water year in the Klamath Basin,” said Todd Andres, Pacific Power’s regional business manager in Klamath Falls. “Our hope is that by working with Reclamation and others that we can help stretch existing supplies to meet the many competing needs for water.”

by Klamath Alerts