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Agreement assures future of basin

Capital Press Letter February 12, 2010 by Greg Addington, Klamath Water Users Association, Klamath Falls, Ore.

KBC NOTE: The hundreds of people in this article do not feel represented at the KBRA closed-door meetings that allowed no public input and in most cases no legitimate representation > Hundreds of Klamath farmers' and ranchers' at public meeting boycotted by Klamath Water Users Association and Klamath County Commissioners concerning Klamath settlement agreement, 11/11/09, Notes by KBC News.

I am writing in response to an op-ed than was published on Jan. 28 regarding the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. As a representative of the irrigation districts in the Klamath Reclamation Project and someone who has been very involved in KBRA negotiations, I feel it is necessary to set the record straight.

First, individual water users who do not wish to participate in the settlement aren't required to do so. Second, water rights adjudication happens with or without the KBRA. What is known is that whatever quantity is adjudicated to the Klamath tribes, it will have a "time immemorial" priority date. Pursuing a costly strategy of endless litigation will, at best, create winners and losers and does not ensure a particular outcome.

The KBRA provides a comprehensive framework to alleviate and sort through complicated resource scarcity issues that have been tearing this community apart for years. The settlement agreements will stabilize the agricultural economy, provide for affordable power, economic development and add stability to water delivery in the Basin.

The KBRA process has been an inclusive one, which was crafted by local stakeholders and gives locals decision-making and oversight control. The process offered all community stakeholders a means to participate. This diverse group included farming and ranching groups (both on and off project), conservation organizations, local government and Native American tribes -- all of which have traditionally been embroiled in longstanding, bitter disputes over water resources in the region.

Supporters of settlement have made an important decision to engage and help shape the future of the Basin. ...

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