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Water pact failure results from history of bad choices

Maudie Smith, Klamath Falls, letter to the editor of Herald and News 12/14/14
     Klamath Falls City Council member Bill Adams was right on track with his comment in the Herald and News about agriculture’s back being against the wall as far as support for the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.

   I don’t believe it is enthusiastic support for the agreement, it is a choice between no water deliveries (because of tribal calls) or reduced irrigation deliveries under the proposed agreement.

   I believe we’ve gotten to this point because of a long-term effort to secure tribal funding at the expense of agriculture.

   A bad decision was made to list the suckers under the Endangered Species Act in upper Klamath Lake followed by high lake level requirements. These water requirements were not supported by the National Academy of Sciences, but a bureaucratic decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries was handed down.

   The next step was the action by the Oregon Water Resources Department to adjudicate the high lake levels and excessive stream flows as a tribal in-stream water right. This left the irrigators with little or no water for irrigation purposes, forcing them to negotiate with the tribe for any irrigation water.

   The result, is the KBRA and the UKCA, which will deliver substantially less water to agriculture. Our community will be impacted by millions of dollars annually through production loss due to less irrigation water. I believe there will be a loss of jobs and businesses, as well as lost tax revenues to the county in reduced land values.


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