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Where were you?
by staff writer Pat Ratliff, The Tri-County Courier, posted 7/6/03

Wednesday, July 25 will be remembered by a lot of Basin residents as they day they tried to cut off the water.

There will be many perceptions of what happened and who was to blame, and the whole story may never be learned.

In the lightning-fast "planned water shut off," and the almost as fast "Weíre not going to cut it off, for now," itís interesting to note how Basin residents felt. All too often, amidst the politics and power plays, the feelings of those affected are never heard.

I asked a two-part question to a few residents to try to document their thoughts; What were your feelings when you heard the water was going to be turned off again? And, after you learned it wasnít going to be turned off, what were your feelings then?

Richard Takacs, Tulelake businessman:

"I got a call from Klamath Falls, which left me totally in shock, I couldnít believe it, even though I had heard warnings." After he had heard of the reprieve, Takacs thought, "It figures, thatís about the way our government works. Or I guess I should say not works."

Luana Ratliff, Merrill, retired farm owner:

"With all the promises theyíve made, who do you believe now? Itís the end of farming in this community." After she had heard that the water would not be shut off, Ratliff said she was impressed with how good a job Congressman Greg Walden and the Bush Administration had done.

Lon Baley, Merrill farmer:

"Itís disgusting to know the unaccountability of the BOR and the USF&W system. They view it as something like a term paper. Right or wrong, their decisions affect my livelihood, yet they still get a pay check and they still have a job. They neglected to fill the lake when they had a chance, yet we will be the ones asked to make up for it". After the decision not to shut off, Baley said "Thank God our administration graded them an F on this term paper."

Dick Carleton, Merrill Farmer thought:

"Thereís been some terrible mismanagement in the BOR. Earlier we were told there was enough water, now weíre told there is not." Later, Carleton said not a whole lot changed about the way he felt. "We still donít know. Irrigators have already conserved 60,000 acre feet through the water bank, yet we are the only ones ask to do anything. We use 21/2 to 4 percent of the water in our watershed, yet we are asked to make up 100 percent of the perceived shortfall in this manufactured crisis."

 

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