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Walden expected to visit Klamath Falls

Congressman Greg Walden is expected to be in Klamath Falls Tuesday to work with federal agencies and other officials on the water shortage facing the Klamath Basin.

Klamath County Commissioner Al Switzer said the Oregon Republican has events scheduled during the visit, including a working meeting in the commissioners' hearing room at 3 p.m. 

Andrew Whelan, Walden's spokesman, said in a press release the meeting would be a bipartisan briefing on what the federal government has planned for the region during the drought.

Water levels at Upper Klamath Lake are at historic lows, and precipitation and inflows to the lake also are below average.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects it will only provide 150,000 acre-feet water to irrigators this season, about a third of typical annual deliveries.

Addressing the issue

Federal and state officials have started addressing the water shortage situation.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski visited Klamath Falls earlier this month to meet with federal agencies and those impacted by the water shortage.

Walden and Oregon's senators in D.C. also have sought federal aid for the Basin.

Walden met with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and the staff U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Thursday to hear updates on what relief the federal government could provide.

ĎA good opportunity'

"This was a good opportunity to speak in a bipartisan way with the agency directors, relay to them the needs of the family farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin, and learn more about their plans for releasing irrigation water in the coming months," Walden said in a press release.

"I want to be certain the agencies understand the importance of working closely with the farmers and being flexible with their crop disaster programs."

Tuesday's meeting is expected to be a working meeting and not involve comment from the public.

It will be broadcast on Klamath County's public access cable channel.

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              Page Updated: Saturday March 27, 2010 12:54 AM  Pacific

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