Klamath Basin Farmers Allotted Less Water

Apr 10, 2015


This homemade sign hanging on a fence near Tulelake, California, is demonstrative of the water battle between wildlife and farmland. It’s said to be a remnant of the Klamath Water Crisis of 2001, a time when irrigation water for the local farmers was turned off to protect sucker fish and salmon.
Credit 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.