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Published April 16, 2010, 03:51 PM

Klamath farmers seek earlier start to irrigation

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Farmers are trying to get water flowing through ditches on the Klamath Basin’s federal irrigation project two weeks earlier than projected.

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Farmers are trying to get water flowing through ditches on the Klamath Basin’s federal irrigation project two weeks earlier than projected.

Klamath Irrigation District manager Dave Solem said Friday alfalfa crops need water now, and it takes two weeks to fill irrigation canals.

Irrigation season on the Klamath Reclamation Project normally begins in April. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation this year said water could not flow until mid-May due to low reservoir levels and Endangered Species Act demands for fish.

If that schedule stands, farmers could not start irrigating until early June.

Solem says they have to be careful. If the reservoir hits the minimum for protecting endangered fish, irrigation will stop.

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