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Environment
California is experiencing the worst drought in its history, and the effects are being felt nationwide. Thus water issues have taken center stage in much of our reporting and the nation's.As the New York Times says, "Water has long been a precious resource in California, the subject of battles pitting farmer against city-dweller and northern communities against southern ones; books and movies have been made about its scarcity and plunder. Water is central to the state’s identity and economy, and a symbol of how wealth and ingenuity have tamed nature ..."As we continue through a fourth year of extreme drought conditions, you'll find all of our reporting on the related issues (and that of NPR and other member stations) in this centralized place.

Klamath Basin Farmers Allotted Less Water

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Michael McCollough
/
Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Some farmers in Northern California and Southern Oregon just learned they’ll be getting 65 percent of the water they’d normally be allotted.

The decision pertains to farmland in Siskiyou and Modoc counties. It’s due to significantly low snowpack and was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

 

The Sacramento Bee reports that the allotments, which are from the Klamath Project, will be slightly more than they were last year. But due to a multifaceted water system, the water portions will not be equal, with some farmers getting a lot more water than others.  

This is the fourth year farmers in the Klamath Basin have seen cutbacks due to the drought. And they add on to more than a decade of irrigation issues regarding concerns for local wildlife, mainly certain species of sucker fish and salmon. 

The Bee reports that Brian Person, acting Klamath project manager, said this year’s water allocation did take into account minimum water amounts mandated for threatened and endangered fish. Local wildlife refuges are reported to get no water, unless they’re on lands leased for farming.