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Water decisions are not making any sense

by Tom Mallams, Beatty, Letter to the Editor of Herald and News 2/17/17

On Feb. 8, Oregon Water Resources Department, OWRD, issued a post card to our farm/ranch lifting water restriction in areas of the Upper Klamath Basin.

The irony of this is so obvious. The rivers are at flood stage or very near it, and OWRD finally lifts the tribal call on the water.

As the attached notice indicates, “This applies to all uses on the listed water right, including stock water, and domestic.”

This includes surface water, (rivers, creeks and springs), and ground water, (wells). Most all of the rights list irrigation as a listed use.

I guess this means those affected are now allowed to irrigate their crops.

In other words, irrigators, go forward, start your pumps and irrigate your crops, that is, if you can find them under all the flood water. Timing is everything.

This is further evidence of how one-sided and damaging the Klamath Adjudication is.

The local court still has the final say whether the state’s “Administrative Law Judge” was correct in setting such high, required instream flows. (The Administrative Law Judge is not, in fact, a “real” Judge.

Even more recently, a judge ordered the Bureau of Reclamation to “flush” additional amounts of water, out of Klamath Lake, down the Klamath River to help coho salmon. This was implemented as some downstream roads were already under water. At the last minute, this amount of extra water was reduced, only because of phone calls from downstream residents and representatives from Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office.

This example is just another case that defies all logic. A single judge and our federal government send extra water down the Klamath River for fish in the middle of a flood. You would certainly think a flood event would contain enough water for any fish needs, including flush or pulse flows.

It is absolutely necessary that logic and true science drive the decisions critical to the survival of our local economies.



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