Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Clashes Over Water Continue in the Klamath

With Northern California in the grip one of the worst drought summers in a decade, the fight over water in Klamath basin has been raging this summer, with no sign of letting up this year or for the foreseeable future. The Klamath, which suffered a massive fish kill in 2002 when drought conditions and irrigation releases combined to starve the basin of adequate flows, continues to be a flashpoint between irrigators, long accustomed to cushy publicly subsidized water deals, and Native Tribes and fishermen who depend on salmon in the Klamath. 

This week a US district court Judge in Fresno put a temporary block on water releases from the Trinity Dam that were intended to prevent a major die off of salmon in the lower Klamath. In a classic gate of California's insane water diversion landscape, water is taken from the Trinity which flows into the Klamath and piped into the Central Valley, where irrigators have been receiving approximately 20% of their normal water deliveries. Now we will have to wait and see what comes for salmon in the Klamath, but one thing is for sure, with a changing climate and entrenched irrigation lobbies in California finding water for salmon isn't getting any easier.

More info on the Judge's decision:

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