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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Production, economy missing from opinion   
 
Herald and News Letter to the Editor March 1, 2011
 
   Our much publicized water issues that began with the water shutoff of 2001 have had a negative effect on land values and interest in our area from potential ranch and farm buyers.
 
   Whenever I am in the process of showing or discussing a property with an interested party and the water question comes up, it is first of all difficult to say anything definitive because it is all so up in the air.
 
   After the water question is discussed and the uncertainty of water availability is clear, the level of interest quickly deteriorates.  
 
   The consequence of taking the lionís share of the water for in-stream flows to create water quality for salmon has been devastating to my business and all the farmers in Klamath County depending on water from Klamath Lake and all of its tributaries.
 
   This affects every business, every community and especially every farm family in Southern Oregon and Northern California. The decision to send the water downstream and not fill Klamath Lake, as I understand it, is based on a biological opinion.
 
   Those composing the biological opinion and those who make the decision and enforce the same are not affected by the economic devastation this causes. Food production and economic viability have to be prioritized and worked into the equation so that Upper Klamath Lake is filled and the balance of the water is then released for salmon.   I heard on the news that we are at 139 percent of normal for fall precipitation and the level in Upper Klamath Lake has risen by 1 inch. We simply cannot continue to put water quality and endangered species ahead of food production and economic viability. This is not sustainable. We cannot afford it. The challenge is to do both and I believe it can be done.

 

Robert R. Bacon
Broker/owner Summit Real Estate
Bonanza
 
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