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Klamath Water Users Association/KWUA wants more money from irrigators now
Letter to Klamath Irrigation District / KID from KWUA
October 6, 2021
Via Electronic Mail and First Class U.S. Mail
Klamath Irrigation District
Re: KWUA Supplemental Assessment for 2021
Dear KID Board of Directors:
This is a very difficult time for irrigation water users. Klamath Water Users (Association) is disappointed, angry, and sad over what has happened to this community over the past two years.
Nonetheless, at this time, KWUA must ask its members for a supplemental assessment to cover necessary expenses through the end of the year. On behalf of the KWUA Board of Directors, I request that you approve and send a supplemental assessment of $1.75 per acre so that KWUA can continue to operate and pay bills through the end of the year.
We have most significantly exceeded the board-approved 2021 budget for lobbying expenses. Secondarily, litigation costs exceeded what we anticipated when the budget was created.
As you know, our lobbying efforts paid large dividends. We have succeeded in obtaining $35 million in federal dollars for Klamath Project Drought Response Agency programs, and we continue to seek additional funds from the state of Oregon. We did not accomplish this alone, but none of it could or would have been accomplished without diligent work by KWUA over a period of many months.
KWUA and KWUA’s members want and need water for irrigation much more than we want federal relief funding. We fully understand that, unless and until there is significant change and improvement in the federal approach to Klamath Project operations, we have a major problem. That issue dwarfs all others, and it is the most important focus of our work. I firmly believe that the quality and competence work that we do on all issues is every bit as good as it is for the funding efforts, understanding the difficult policy and political environment that we are confronting.
KWUA has made efforts over the past few years to communicate with members and members’ patrons. A good deal of work goes into KWUA’s monthly newsletters. It is a pervasive challenge, particularly in the digital age, that we must be cautious because there are third parties (non-irrigation parties) with whom we do not wish to share some information. But we believe it is possible for anyone who wishes to be informed, to be informed.
We hope that all KWUA members’ board members read our "mini-minutes," which are produced within 20 hours after each KWUA board meeting and include the written monthly reports of the Executive Director and the Assistant Executive Director. We also hope that members’ board members receive copies from their KWUA representatives of the periodic updates (between board meetings) that we provide to the KWUA board.
It can be difficult to monetize the benefits that KWUA delivers, much as it is difficult to monetize the benefits of membership in Farm Bureau, Oregon Water Resources Congress, or any other organization. But we believe the benefits provided by KWUA are real and considerable.
KWUA is active every day, communicating with its members, federal, state and local governments, media, agencies, allies, adversaries, and more. It is difficult to generalize about that work. In addition, much of KWUA’s work results in thingsnot happening that we do not want to have happen.
With these general points as context, I have directed KWUA staff to prepare a more detailed description of work on behalf of our membership. That document is enclosed with this letter.
We are available to speak with any of our members and to attend upcoming board meetings, whether on the supplemental assessment or any other matter.
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