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The State has turned off all of our water including our wells!

by Brandan Topham, Sprague River, Newsletter 5/7/18
Topham family has been raising specialized Salers cattle for more than 40 years

The State has turned off all of our water including our wells!

We are not happy about this at all. Four years ago they started turning
off our surface water. Two years ago they turned off our house water from
a spring and now they are trying to turn off our irrigation wells. On the
wells, they are going to have a fight (legal). The details of that will be
skipped as that battle has just started.

What is more important is how blatant the Oregon Department of Water
Resources Staff is about this. There was a meeting last Monday, where they
were happy to explain how their computer model tells them that 140 wells
that are closer than 1 mile to a river are denying the rivers over 100
cubic feet per second(cfs), but the wells that are one foot over a mile
from the river are not hurting the river enough to bother. That right
there should tell you there is a problem with what they are doing.

I assert the model has no correlation to the real world. How can I back
that up you ask?

I can back that up several ways. The easiest way is looking at the river
flow. There is a gauge station on the Lower Williamson River that has been
there for 100 years. For those paying attention 100 years of data is a lot
of data. Most of the irrigations wells have been drilled since 1950. That
means we have river data for 32 years before the wells were drilled. In
those 32 years the average flow is 860cfs. Since 1951 the average flow is
1052cfs. That means since the wells have been drilled there is almost
another 200 cfs in the rivers. That does not sound like the wells are
drying up the rivers. In fact, a person could argue that the wells are
helping the river flows in a number of ways.

The above is very easy to look up and it is a fact, there is no arguing
about computer models or which way the water flows under ground or if
there are places where the water is confined or not.

The next easiest, but more expensive way to disprove the model is to do an
aquifer test. It is a particular kind of test that can only be done
certain times of the year and takes several days to a week. Once the test
is done you can see exactly how the well affects other wells and if it
affects any surface bodies. The test is agreed by other states to be the
gold standard for figuring these things out. Several have been done in
this area showing how those particular wells have zero correlation to the
state’s computer models. The state refuses to acknowledge those tests or
their results.

The third way to disprove it is to dig up a book that explains the
algorithm (math equation) that the computer model is based on. The
documents that go with the algorithm explain that it can only be used in
particular places. Most notably, where the ground and earth under the
ground are uniform for a vast area. In our area the ground is rarely the
same for 100 feet. We have faults, ash deposits, lake beds and lava flows
intermixed in very complex ways that are infinitely complex under the
surface of the earth and are only superficially understood. There is no
way that a computer model that is based on an algorithm requiring vast
areas of uniformity can give you accurate results.

With this bad computer model a lot of ranches and smaller families are in
trouble in the “Off Project” this summer. While the Feds are likely to
give the project farmers millions of dollars it will be interesting to see
what happens to those of us out here. Currently there are families trying
to decide if their children get to keep their 4-H projects or not.

This will not break us, at least not this year, but it is causing problems
and will hurt us financially, cause a lot of lost sleep and quality of
life will suffer while we fight with the ODWR over something that is a
political problem, not a real life problem.

The fact that this year is a drought has nothing to do with the fact they
have shut off our wells. Every few years they keep changing the rules to
shut off more stuff. This year they figured out how to shut off ~140 wells
in addition to what they have been shutting off in the past for the
Klamath Tribes. Last year they shut off every thing even with river flows
well above average. Turning the wells off is now going to happen every
year regardless of how much water is in the streams and rivers.

At some point the ODWR needs to get their teeth pulled. Not sure how to do
that. If you have any thoughts they are welcome.

My next beef delivery is this Tuesday, May 8th. We will be meeting at Eco
Solar (515 South 6th.)  Between 5:00-5:30PM. Eco Solar is across from the
downtown AMA gas station. Go downtown over the overpass and stay on S 6th,
after a few streets the AMA gas station will be on the left, Eco Solar is
on the right, between Willow and Plum streets. A list of the cuts and
their prices is at www.flyingtsalers.com/meat/price_sheet.html if that
time or day does not work let us know and we can make other arrangements.

All the best,

Topham family has been raising specialized Salers cattle for more than 40 years



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