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Reclamation Leases Water for Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuges

Late in the 2018 water year, the Bureau of Reclamation (“Reclamation”) entered into an agreement with the 2018 Klamath Drought Response Agency to lease up to 26,355 AF from Klamath Project contractors.

Due to drought conditions in the region, the Governors of California and Oregon requested drought assistance from the federal government. The drought response agency was created to administer drought relief funds to be distributed to water users during the 2018 water year. The agency subsequently negotiated the lease with Reclamation on behalf of the contractors, who are implementing conservation measures to make the water available.

Reclamation paid $360/AF for each acre-foot made available. Any conveyance losses between the point of diversion and the refuge are Reclamation’s responsibility.

Reclamation sought water supplies from willing sellers because insufficient supplies at the refuges were contributing to an increase in avian botulism and declines in other fish and wildlife resources at the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and the Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge.

The contract was executed on August 29, 2018 and remains in effect through January 31, 2019.


Written by Marta L. Weismann