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As Drought Persists, Government Says Klamath Farmers Will Be Allocated Limited Water

As severe drought persists in Northern California and southern Oregon, the federal Bureau of Reclamation announced Monday that farmers and ranchers will be allocated a limited amount of water in the Klamath River Basin this summer.

Water is at the center of bitter disputes between growers, the federal government and tribes over how much should be allocated for food production, flows in the Klamath River and the health of threatened fish.

The Government Cut Off Water to Farmers in the Klamath Basin. It Reignited a Decades-Old War Over Water and Fish

Drought has long fueled tensions between growers, who depend on the water for irrigation, and the Klamath Tribes, who hold two protected fish species as sacred.

Water Crisis “Couldn’t be Worse” on Oregon-California Border

The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year.

In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system.