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

   KBC COMMENTARY ON WATERBANK 3/25/03

  In 2002, the Dept of the Interior (DOI) asked the water users to create a water bank to idle farmland, pump our untested aquifer, and make a plan to keep our fields irrigated while they take more water for fish, even though higher water levels have never caused more fish.  Hundreds of hours were spent by local citizens who wrote a 65-page document, nothing overlooked.  They labored into the night, brainstorming ways to conserve water, protect farmland, and protect fish that are having record-high runs.  By forfeiting our water, one of the irrigators conditions was that the rest of the Project gets water.

The DOI, claiming to want local input, basically trashed the entire local concept.  They are taking more water than originally asked for, there is NO guarantee that the remainder of the Project will get water, the USFWS refuge has no plan (they used MORE water than usual last year) nor is Tribal Trust water quantified. This was once a lake in a closed basin, and on dry years Klamath River dried up (there are historical photos).  

In 2001, the irrigators were told to pump ground water down the river or we would be possibly shut down, and since onions and potatoes and mint would die, the blackmail could only work.  We were forced to give them the water.  For ESA? For endangered fish? No, for a term that no one dares to question, the unquantified 'tribal trust'.  Over 60,000 acre feet of irrigator's water. Why?

Here we are in 2003. The DOI tells us we must pump, idle, and still maybe get cut off. So by 2006 they want to take 100,000 acre feet of our water, every year in spite of the snow pack? Where is our farmland water credit they promised when they've taken over 90,000 acres ag land out of production?  Since it did not agree with the tribes and the environmental groups, do we throw out the NAS interim report? JUST TELL US, DOI.......COULD THIS BE STEP ONE IN A PERMANENT DOWNSIZE IN SPITE OF THE NAS BEST-AVAILABLE-SCIENCE THAT YOU REQUESTED????

We American farmers don't have the $$$$$$$ that your government agencies or your subsidized environmental groups have, but we are honest.  We have ethics.  We spent our lives to provide American food.  And we know when we have been betrayed and lied to. 

 

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