Drought In Southern Oregon Could Be Worse Than 2001

This year is already shaping up to be a difficult one for irrigators in southern Oregon. President of the Klamath Water Users Association Ben DuVal said while they originally thought it might be as bad as 2001, it actually might be worse.

“Since then we’ve gotten the April 15th forecast and as inflows continue to show up even the [projected] very small allocation has gone down. In 2001 we ended up using about 80,000 acrefeet from Upper Klamath Lake.”

That, he noted, could mean a pretty severe impact on the towns and businesses in the area that are so reliant on agriculture either directly or indirectly. DuVal added for his farm he will likely have large portions of it that will have to be fallow, but the impact could far more reaching and severe elsewhere.

“I know people are going to see higher food costs and we’re going to see farms go out of business. Everybody wants to look at small family farms and know where their food comes from and that’s important. It’s also important to our community because the Klamath project is all small family farms.”

DuVal praised local producers, saying they’re resourceful and that they will try to use groundwater where available and help each other out to make the best out of the situation. ​

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