Water talks getting close
The agreement is expected to provide long-term benefits, but Klamath County Commissioner John Elliott said not everyone likely would be happy with the decisions.
“That’s the nature of negotiations,” he said.
Elliott is a member of the Klamath River Settlement group, which represents 20 different interests.
Farmers, Indian tribes, fishermen and environmentalists are involved in the discussions.
The talks deal with demands on regional water supplies — irrigation , endangered fish species and power generation — and the animosity those demands created between different groups.
Specific details about group discussions are being kept secret to minimize public pressure. The group started meeting a year ago, and delayed releasing a final report as negotiations continued.
Elliott said the public should see something before the end of the year and get a chance to comment on the settlement.
The county commissioner and Greg Addington, executive director with the Klamath Water Users Association, were scheduled to be in Redding all week to meet with the group.
“We are getting close to resolving some of the last major issues,” Elliott said.
He acknowledged that not everyone would be pleased with the outcome because it includes sacrifices on behalf of those involved. Those sacrifices, though, will lead to long-term benefits for the communities that depend on the watershed, he said.
Addington agreed, adding that despite some disagreement, the settlement would have positive effects.
Representatives of the Klamath Tribes did not immediately return phone calls about the talks.
There will be a short time period during which the public can comment, and Addington is eager to open that window as soon as possible.
“People have been really patient with us, and I can’t tell them how much I appreciate that,” he said.