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Commissioners float concept of new gauge in Wood River

Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd is studying the concept of purchasing an additional water gauge for the Wood River as early as the 2019 irrigation season.

Boyd floated the concept to Commissioners Derrick DeGroot and Kelley Minty Morris Tuesday afternoon during a regular meeting at the Klamath County Government Center.

Boyd estimates a gauge could cost about $100,000, and he plans to identify the best locations for the proposed equipment, if it is approved by board members. The cost could be split between more than one entity, he said, but there are no definitive details at this time.

“There is a distinct desire to have a water gauge on the Wood River so that an independent group can monitor the water,” Boyd said. “I think we need to put one in the Williamson, too, but these gauges are extremely expensive.”

Boyd said he believes an additional gauge should be located in a confined area, likely at Weed Road, so the water can be accurately measured.

“The goal here is to make sure that we have captured all the water in the river so that we have accurate data for all the stakeholders and that includes the (Klamath) Tribes,” Boyd said following the regular meeting.

He said a new gauge would likely be similar to the two gauges already located in the river.

“This would be a different location,” Boyd said. “We’re going to look for experts to help us find that.”

Any action would need approval from the majority of the Commission, though Minty Morris and DeGroot expressed interest in assisting in finding a solution for monitoring water in the region.

“I totally support the idea of trying to help our friends in ag in the Upper Basin, particularly to have a mechanism for knowing what their fate will be,” Minty Morris said. “My question would be, how do we go about logistically doing this? Would this be a grant? Do we have to do an (Request For Proposal) RFP? Would we have a contract with someone?”

Boyd said details are still being studied and that the concept is in the preliminary stages.

“We can start working on the fine details, if that’s where we’re going to go,” Boyd said.

DeGroot urged Boyd to investigate the details further and come back to the commission in the near future.

In a previous H&N story, Ivan Gall, administrator for the OWRD field services division, said the entity is evaluating if current water guage locations on the Wood River operated by U.S. Geological Survey and OWRD are the most appropriate.

Gall said personnel from each agency compare measurements from the same site and measure throughout the river to ensure accuracy.




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