Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Fighting for Our Right to Irrigate Our Farms and Caretake Our Natural Resources

Sen. Harper Presents Oregon Governor Kulongoski With a Symbolic Bucket
photos and article sent to Klamath Bucket Brigade office 3/5/03

Jess Prosser, 86, a Tulelake homesteader, dips out the first bucket of water in the bucket brigade and pours the water into a bucket held by his son, John. Waiting to pass it along the line is Johnís son, James, 6. Photo/Christine Souza
To symbolize the delivery of desperately needed irrigation water, Klamath Basin farmers and their supporters stood shoulder to shoulder passing buckets of water along a 1 1/2-mile bucket brigade which carried the valuable resource to a bone-dry canal in Klamath Falls, Ore. Thousands of supporters of Klamath Basin agriculture from both Oregon and California, assembled in Klamath Falls for the bucket brigade and rally that called attention to the ongoing water crisis which has stopped the majority of the areaís farmers from planting crops this season. The U.S. Department of Interior announced it would withhold water from nearly 200,000 acres of farmland served by the Klamath Project. The water instead is to be used to ensure adequate lake levels and river flows for endangered sucker fish and Coho salmon. As a result, many farmers and ranchers are left wondering how they will support their families and if they will continue to farm. About 13,000 people joined the bucket brigade and passed 50 buckets of water, one representing each state, from the starting point in Klamath Falls at the Link River to the very-dry ďAĒ canal. Event organizers say bucket brigades have been a symbol of unified community action against threatened disaster throughout history of the American West. People of the Klamath Basin who farm for a living, or those who depend on farmersí purchases to survive, consider a lack of water deliveries a disaster threatening their livelihoods. Without water, the communities and people will disappear. Members of the local and national print, radio, and television media covered the Klamath Basin event, and were welcomed by those who live in the Klamath Basin. Community members say they want to communicate to the general public the message if the government can take away water in the Klamath Basin, it can happen anywhere.




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