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November 30, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey recently upgraded the Upper Klamath Basin Collaborative Groundwater Monitoring website to provide information on current groundwater conditions in the upper Klamath Basin.

Screenshot of Klamath groundwater mapper website, showing a map of well locations
Screenshot of Klamath groundwater mapper website

PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Geological Survey recently upgraded an interactive online map that provides information on groundwater conditions in the upper Klamath Basin. Resource managers can use the mapper to identify trends in groundwater levels; this is especially important during droughts.

The map now includes all the monitored wells in the basin and incorporates updated databases from the states of Oregon and California.

“The information available from this website shows the condition of aquifers in the Upper Klamath Basin and can help people see the changes in water levels over time,” said Dar Crammond, the director of the USGS Oregon Water Science Center.

The upper Klamath Basin, including Upper Klamath Lake, provides irrigation water for about 500,000 acres of cropland. Groundwater supplements surface-water supply and is used for irrigation in areas that are not served by irrigation districts.

Multiple agencies in Oregon and California, including the USGS, Oregon Water Resources Department, California Department of Water Resources and Tulelake Irrigation District, collected over 23,000 individual water-level measurements from nearly 300 wells spread across the basin. Well depth vary from only a few tens of feet to more than 1,000 feet down into aquifers.

Regularly measuring water levels over long periods is necessary to evaluate changes in the aquifer over time, develop groundwater models and forecast trends, and design, implement and monitor the effectiveness of groundwater management and protection programs.

Although records for some wells go back several decades, most data were collected since 2001. USGS field crews routinely visit a network of wells to collect water-level measurements and maintain monitoring equipment for those wells instrumented to measure hourly changes in hydrologic conditions.

Access the website here.


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