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(Klamath Project) Water bids are out, set fees are in, East Side payments still undecided
The KWAPA board voted Tuesday to pay irrigators who participate in the agency’s Water Use Mitigation Program (WUMP) $300 for every acre that stays dry this year.2014 bids
In 2014, irrigators contracted with WUMP to bid an amount they would like to receive in lieu of irrigating fields. According to KWAPA Executive Director Hollie Cannon, the average payment last year was $291.According to Cannon, this year the agency has about $7 million to distribute to Klamath Project irrigators.
The funding can provide compensation for 16,400 acres and for 40,000 acres of groundwater pumping. KWAPA board members will decide whether WUMP should have a groundwater program at the next meeting in April.“If they decide not to do the groundwater pumping, we could contract for more dry acres,” Cannon said.
Cannon noted that the partial-season sprinkler program suggested in earlier WUMP policy meetings has been removed from the 2015 program.“(The board) thought it would be too difficult to administer,” Cannon said.
As of now, according to Cannon, $321,000 is available for the Langell Valley Irrigation District and the Horsefly Irrigation District, known collectively as the “East Side.” The current contract calls for East Side irrigators to receive $300 per acre.“That only allows for 1,070 acres on the East Side to be contracted; there are probably 10,000 that are needed,” Cannon said.
East Side undecidedCannon said the board will meet with East Side irrigators in the coming weeks to finalize the payment recommendation.
A draft of the 2015 WUMP agreement stipulates that contracted land must have been irrigated with surface water in at least one of the past three years — 2012, 2013 or 2014 — and that no water other than precipitation has been applied to the land since Nov. 15, 2014.The agreement notes that grazing and crop harvesting will be allowed, but no water can be applied to the land. Landowners must also employ erosion and weed control and minimize fire danger. Complaints relating to these issues will be referred to the county enforcement department, according to the draft.
Cannon noted this winter’s ample rainfall and scant snowpack is making it difficult to predict how much water will be available for water deliveries.“This year in particular, people have to make their own judgment about whether or not to sign up,” Cannon said. There’s no precedent. “People who feel they have a risk should sign up.”
Irrigators can begin picking up WUMP applications from the KWAPA office at 8 a.m. on March 10. Applications must be submitted before 4 p.m. on April 10, Cannon said.Cannon emphasized that the program as drafted on the current contract will be the only program this year.
“The board has promised no changes to the contracts,” he firstname.lastname@example.org ; @LMJatHandN
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Page Updated: Tuesday March 10, 2015 01:26 AM Pacific
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