Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Letters to the editor

Regarding "Klamath farmers, fish at crossroads," Feb. 27: For Crossroads, go HERE
by William D. Kennedy, Klamath Falls

Published 2:15 am PST Thursday, March 10, 2005

Most irrigation developments are associated with the electricity they produce. What is unique about the Klamath project is that a private business, Scottish Power, has a conditional permit to harness the hydro potential from the project.

The irrigation community paid for the project construction cost. We continue to pay for operation and maintenance of the project. We continue to provide flows down the Klamath River. The storage and infrastructure of the Klamath project supplement the historically low river flow during the summer.

Scottish Power generates hydroelectricity when the demand and price are very high. While the irrigation community purchases about 15 percent of this hydroelectric generation, 85 percent is sold at a huge profit to others. Who is subsidizing whom?

An extreme power rate increase would be devastating. The best farms would struggle to produce. Wildlife habitat would dry up. Irrigated pasture would turn to dust. River flows for hydroelectric production would not exist.

Power fee for water service
by Stephen M. Plass, Tulelake

The March 1 editorial "Power at 1917 prices" is critical of the electrical power rate contract for irrigation pumping in the Klamath Basin. If the reclamation project had not been developed, the vast majority of the water that did not evaporate in wetlands would go down the river from November to June.The power generation facilities were not built until after the reclamation project was established and the upper basin water was manageable. To build generation facilities on the river with no upstream management would not supply reliable summer electricity.

The generation facilities receive a tremendous benefit from having the water resource managed upstream. Compensation for this benefit could be accomplished in any of several methods of payment. The farmers of the project pay for the project, which pays for the management of the water.

Rather than pay a percentage of revenue or some other franchise fee, the agreement was for a lower electricity rate when used for agricultural irrigation pumping. In turn, the project would supply guaranteed flows down the river. Each helps the other.




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