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Water agreement a chance to work together

By Edward Bair Guest Writer, Herald and News September 21, 2008

The Klamath Water and Power Agency is a joint powers intergovernmental agency and is made up of water agencies within the Klamath Reclamation Project. A joint powers agreement allows signatories to the agreement, who have statutory authorities that are common to each participant, to exercise those common “powers” jointly for the benefit of all parties.

Each of the parties to the water and power agency has the power to purchase, generate, transmit, distribute, sell and interchange electrical energy, and to manage water resources, in addition to other powers.

Each of the parties (the Klamath Project districts), either by statutory authority or by vote of their patrons, enjoys the same powers that a public utility district or municipal utility district does.

It is the desire of the water and power agency and its founders to use this common authority to identify areas where we can make more efficient use of our energy, and exercise those authorities afforded a public utility district to the benefit of all irrigators and the community as a whole.

In addition, each of the parties has the authority to manage water resources. The water and power agency anticipates seeking funding to develop and manage a water supplementation program within the Klamath Project. It gives us the opportunity to design and implement a water management plan that irrigators would control and operate. This is something we have not had the opportunity to do in the past.

It needs to be said that the water and power agency, at this point in time, is not a function of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, however it is anticipated that, upon approval of the restoration agreement, that there would be certain duties and responsibilities that will fall to the water and power agency.

I believe that this is a rare opportunity for irrigators and the larger community to work together within the water and power agency, and potentially the restoration agreement, to better use our common authority to find locally based solutions to energy issues and water management issues, and coordinate in other areas to the benefit of the whole community.

The water and power agency is the product of discussion between local irrigators, districts and others in the community, over approximately the last year. It is our intent to have all Project irrigation, drainage, and improvement districts as members of the agency, and then look for additional partnerships beyond that.
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