Resources Department says drought permits 'unlikely'
Agriculture in the Klamath Basin might be in for another dry
year with little in the way of emergency water provisions.
THE Oregon Water Resources Department issued a news release
last Thursday, Feb. 9 stating that, if a drought emergency
is declared in Klamath County, it is “unlikely” the
department will issue emergency use permits, also known as
This would be the second year without the permits in the
Upper Klamath Basin.
Throughout previous drought-stricken years, producers in the
area have often relied on these permits which grant access
to and use of groundwater.
“When a governor declares drought in a county, that opens up
additional resources for how [OWRD] assists people on the
ground with managing water,” OWRD Public Information &
Resiliency Specialist Alyssa Rash told the Herald & News on
Tuesday, Feb. 14.
This year, Rash explained, the groundwater levels are too
“There’s just not enough groundwater to allocate,” Rash
The OWRD news release stated the water levels in the Klamath
Project area had dropped nearly 30 feet in the past few
years due to “seasonal declines” during the 2021 and 2022
This decline has left many domestic wells dry, the news
Klamath Water Users Association Executive Director Paul
Simmons said he is disappointed by the state’s decision.
“It is disappointing that the state of Oregon stands back,
indifferent to federal regulators shutting down surface
water deliveries to irrigation water users in Oregon,”
Simmons told the Herald & News, “and only responds by its
own regulatory action of shutting down wells that could help
mitigate the damage.”
Simmons expressed concern for the status of the water levels
as well, but said KWUA would prefer to work with OWRD on a
“case-by-case basis” to determine when emergency use is
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
section 107, any copyrighted material
herein is distributed without profit or
payment to those who have expressed a
prior interest in receiving this
information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only. For more
information go to: