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Adjudication Pro: Settlement provides more flexibility

Herald and News 1/6/10

Some irrigators, on and off the Project, and the Klamath Tribes say the Klamath Restorationh AGreement would guarantee everyone's survival

The agreement would allocate water among irrigators, fisheries, tribes and conservationists, among other things.

On-Project irrigators and Klamath  Tribes have already reached a settlement regarding Upper Klamath Lake, reducing how much water the Project typically receives, but establishing a guaranteed amount depending on the water year.

Greg  Corbin, a Portland attorney representing the Upper Klamath Water Users Association, said while it's not known yet how much water the Tribes could get, they have first priority. Even if the adjudication grants them only a quarter of what they claim, he said the settlement could significantly limit how much water is available to irrigation off the Project.

As a result, settlement provides more flexibility than the adjudication process.

"The folks I'm working with think they have a greater chance to maintain their lifestyle to settle with the Tribes rather than leave it to a judge," Corbin said.

Jeff Mitchell, Klamath Tribes council member, said the Tribes have always looked to settlements with irrigators and other water users rather than relying on adjudication and its uncertain outcome.

"I don't know how they'd have to change their operation, but in other parts of the state they've had to do so," he said of impacts in other water adjudications. "It's difficult."

At the same time, the Tribes are prepared to go to court to defend their claims, Mitchell said.

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              Page Updated: Thursday January 07, 2010 12:42 AM  Pacific


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