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State adopts drought rule;
drinking, stock water given preference by commission
  by HOLLY DILLEMUTH, Herald and News 9/26/14
     One Klamath Falls well regulated by the state is expected to benefit from a rule recently adopted by the Oregon Water Resources Commission.

   City residents will receive drinking and stock water before irrigation water and other uses through Dec. 31, 2014, the result of a rule adopted by the Oregon Water Resources Commission.

   The adopted rule applies to groundwater users who have received a groundwater regulation notice, according to Racquel Rancier, senior policy coordinator for the Oregon Water Resources Department.

   The rule allows one city well to continue pumping water for human consumption, she said.

   Rancier was unable to clarify which city well would benefit from the rule. The two city wells regulated by the state regulation are the Fremont and Wocus wells.

   Other groundwater users are unlikely to be affected by the rule because “regulating small quantities of groundwater pumped for stock and human consumption purposes generally would not provide a timely and effective benefit to the senior water right holder,” Rancier said the Rules Advisory Committee report.        The Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) selected by the Oregon Water Commission, unanimously voted to adopt the drought rule as a transition for water users during a   drought, not as a permanent solution, according to the report.

   The RAC also responded to questions and concerns voiced during a Sept. 18 public   hearing with Southern Oregon ranchers. Oregon Water Commission representatives heard concerns from local residents who feared they were being targeted by the water regulation rule. The RAC report also aimed to answer some of those questions: “Certain areas   of Klamath County had not been regulated prior to 2013. Therefore, these areas are not accustomed to regulation and do not have the stock watering infrastructure in place to ensure access to water for stock during a drought.”



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