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Groundwater rule undergoes two-year testing

Letter to editor by Larry Sees, Beatty, 1/27/19

In response to the Jan. 22nd letter "Proposed groundwater drilling rule unsustainable".

First, please don't tell untruths to your uninformed readers with your article title. There has not been any further groundwater drilling rule proposed in the upper Klamath Basin.

Oregon Water Resources Department has announced a two-year, interim plan that does reduce the "call" distance on wells to 500 feet from a surface water source. But again, only for two years while new, permanent rules are worked on and put into place. The permanent distance for a "call" at this time is unknown.

Unfortunately, it is not proven by actual science that any of the well water use is taking any water away from the fish. Although it has been proven by actual science that pumping the wells adds water to the river.

Each well should be tested individually to confirm if it affects the surface water or not. OWRD wants to put into the rules that all groundwater in the Klamath Basin is connected to surface water whether there is actual or impending interference.

This will allow OWRD to eventually control all water within the Klamath Basin, and then most likely the rest of the state, without making a case by case determination as is the "supposed" law now.

Second, the reservation land was not taken from the Klamath Tribes, as Mr. Dumont states, but sold by their fathers and grandfathers in 1958; 77 percent of the tribe voted in agreement to sell the reservation.

Third, one cannot compare California's situation to the Klamath Basin since the geography differs greatly.

Fourth, the agriculture practices in this basin are not unsustainable. The water in the rivers for the fish needs to be quantified for beneficial use just as all other water in the state is. The way it is now is the fish get all the water whether they need it or not.

Larry Sees, Beatty



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