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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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2004 letter said state had claim to (Klamath) dam water   
Herald and News Letter to the Editor October 21, 2010 by Brandon Criss, Butte Valley Rancher
   The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors asserted at its April 1 special meeting that there’s 60,000 acre-feet of water storage behind Iron Gate Dam. So I researched it.
   Klamath County Commissioner John Elliot criticized my character Oct. 17 in the Herald and News by attacking my truthfulness. He demanded I apologize in regards to comments I made in my Oct. 10 letter about the 60,000 acre-feet of water for Shasta Valley farmers.
   Elliot stated in his commentary that, “No entity, including the state of California, was granted this water right.”
   An April 22, 2004, letter to Magalie R. Salas, Secretary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights, says: “The State of California holds a second senior water right for 60,000 acre-feet of water stored in Iron Gate Reservoir, for the purposes of irrigation, industrial, domestic, municipal, recreation, and fish and wildlife uses in the Shasta Valley.”
   I see no need to apologize for my research or with sharing it with my neighbors. I honestly research any of my stances and back them up.  
   Elliot should be more worried about section 19.4.5 of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement which gives the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council the power to renegotiate the content of the KBRA if “Substantial effects of climate change are determined by the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council to be manifest or reasonably likely to occur;” (KBRA pages 133-134).
   Environmentalists already claim climate change is occurring. It’s naïve to give them this big of a loophole to make it even worse.
   This is a great concern because if the KBRA is enacted, then the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council’s 18-seat membership will be in control of our water. It’s comprised of a strong majority of groups that advocated the 2001 and 2010 water shortages.


   Brandon Criss



‘Senior water right’ for Shasta Valley doesn’t exist 


Applied for in 1956, it was never granted and the application expired in 2006 


By JOHN ELLIOTT Guest Writer October 17, 2010



     In his letter printed Oct. 7, Leo Bergeron of Montague, Calif., accused the Klamath County Board of Commissioners of lying about irrigation water behind Iron Gate Dam. He also claimed that the Shasta Valley farmers’ rights were being negotiated away.


   In this and previous letters, he, Brandon Criss and Anthony Intiso have stated that the Shasta Valley farmers have an adjudicated senior water right to 60,000 acre-feet of water storage behind the dams of the Klamath River. I hope those gentlemen can handle the truth, because those statements are far from true.


   Application 16958 was filed at 4:39 p.m. on March 20, 1956, with the state of California, Department of Public Works, Division of Water Resources. The applicant was the state of California, Department of Finance. The chronology of assignment/transfer of that application is as follows:


   July 5, 1956 — to Department of Water Resources.


   Sept. 13, 1959 — to California Water Commission.  


   Sept. 17, 1965 — to California Water Rights Board.


   Dec. 1, 1967 — California Water Resources Control Board.


   Water appropriation


   The application sought to appropriate 60,000 acre-feet of water identifying Iron Gate Reservoir as the source; the uses as irrigation, industrial, domestic, municipal, recreation and fish and wildlife and the Shasta Valley as the place of use.


   In the 54 years since that application was submitted, no permitting, licensing, adjudicating, certifying or granting of water rights associated with that application have been made.


   No entity, including the state of California, was granted this water right. This application was never vested in the farmers of the Shasta Valley. In fact, since this application sought to appropriate water from Iron Gate Reservoir, the application expired in 2006, concurrently with the expiration of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s license to construct and operate Iron Gate Dam.


   Bergeron stated this is a “senior” water right. Given that there is no water right until it is granted, the question of seniority is not relevant.


   Even if the state of California were to revive an expired application, the operative date is March 20, 1956. How does that date constitute a “senior” right, when compared with developed water rights that date from the 1800s?


   Neither the state of California nor the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors nor its counsel sought to protect this alleged water “right” because it does not exist.


   No water is being diverted from Iron Gate Dam for agriculture, nor do any facilities exist for such a diversion. As much as Bergeron, Criss and Intiso may not care for it, that is the truth.


   While they may not feel they owe an apology to the Klamath County commissioners, they should apologize to their neighbors in Siskiyou and Klamath counties for their misinformation about alleged “rights.” 

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