Water stakeholders meet today
MERRILL — A settlement agreement aimed at solving the Klamath Basin’s water allocation issues might be made public as early as Monday, according to one of the participants.
Greg Addington said stakeholder representatives would be polled today to see if they favor releasing the document. Negotiations have gone on for three years, and included members of the irrigation community, tribes, environmental groups and government agencies.
“We’ve worked hard to negotiate the best agreement we can for the Klamath Project irrigators,” said Addington, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association. He is a liaison to project irrigators at the settlement talks.
He and Paul Simmons, attorney for Tulelake Irrigation District, briefed about 45 representatives of several irrigation districts during a meeting Thursday at Merrill City Hall. The talks were in executive session, which prevents details from being reported.
However, Addington talked in general terms about the state of settlement discussions during an interview outside of the meeting.
He said there are two documents being compiled. The largest, which could be released any day, covers topics such as power rates and other issues critical to stakeholders throughout the Basin.
The second document focuses more narrowly on re-licensing of PacifiCorp to operate hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. That document is further from completion, Addington said.
After the wide-ranging settlement agreement is released, he said, there will be a series of public meetings to take citizen input.
“Community support is going to be important to irrigators,” Addington said.
Keeping in the know
Addington has kept irrigators abreast of developments in recent weeks. Many have seen draft copies of the document.
He expressed optimism that the long task is coming to a conclusion.
Asked what would happen if some stakeholders balked today at releasing the document, Addington replied, “Then our phone call gets longer. We hope we’ve crossed those thresholds already.”