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Agreement doesn't produce additional water for Basin

Letter to the Editor Herald and News by Shirley Kerns, Klamath Falls 4/3/10

Here we go again - it looks like 2001 all over again.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the supporters of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement were in Salem to sign the KBRA and celebrate their accomplishment. 

However, no one was saying the obvious: "This agreement does not produce one additional drop of water for irrigation, fish or anything else."

Those who sat at the table putting this agreement together did not include any additional off-stream and deep-water storage in the Upper Basin, which could help in the future to alleviate the situation now facing our community again.

I have never understood why all entities in our community plus the other communities along the Klamath River did not get together and promote the one thing that would really help provide a more stable water future for everyone.

Rather than provide additional water to the Basin, the KBRA permanently cuts the amount of irrigated acreage for both Project and off-Project farmers even in good water years.

It is my understanding that not only is there no storage included in the agreement, but any excess water has to stay in stream and cannot be used for storage. I thought the KBRA was supposed to benefit the whole community, or were we being misled about its purpose?



  • So, what I am reading here is that the ENTIRE problem is not with the amount of water available, but with the greedy SPORTSMEN downstream and the ENVIRONAZIS that support the the false opinions in the ESA.

    As far as the commissioners supporting off-stream storage, where were they 30 years ago when storage was a feasable option at a reasonable cost. Elliot or Switzer either one jumping on the bandwagon now just to save their political career don't cut it.

    My scientific opinion (which I believe holds as much credence as the scientific opinion that supports the ESA) is that the KBRA is going to cost much more than $3,500,000,000.00 which is the number being thrown around for developement of Long Lake.

    Siskiyou county has it right.

    Water Storage, great idea. John Elliot our Commissioner is all for water storage, let's keepo him in office for another term!!!


    Citizen, you might want to read that bill again. You're way off.


    • This forum keeps cutting off the final comments of "Citizen":

      The KBRA does provide, under certain conditions, irrigation water of an extra10,000 acre feet (out of 500,000 acre feet possible) if excess stored water is available. But the waters of any offstream storage(like Long Lake) will first go to fish.

      So if Long Lake were built today and Interior spent 3.5 billion dollars to build it , all but 10,000 feet of that water would go to fish. The Hardy Phase II peak flow requirements require more water than hypothetically exists in all of the Klamath Basin, to flow down the Klamath River to the ocean.

      Those are the ESA requirements imposed by the salmon biological opinion. The Hardy Phase II study is hugely flawed, but Bureau of Rec, USFW and NMFS refuses to correct the flow requirements for the new salmon biological opinion.

      Additionally HB 3369 and its attendant OWRD Strategic Water Resources Plan for Oregon will now further preclude any water from any new storage, that is partially or fully funded by the state of Oregon from being used for irrigation. All water from any new Oregon dams or offstream storage projects must go to fish and wildlife first to meet unattainable "peak
      and ecological flows" .

      Short synopsis - unless it is privately funded water storage (dams), there will be no new irrigation water available within the state of Oregon due to what the Oregon legislature passed in 2009 in HB 3369 . Also any water (except for 10,000 acre feet) of a newly built Long Lake will go for fish first.


    • To "Steeli" below:

      Water storage for irrigation is expressly forbidden in the KBRA document. Water for FISH and WILDLIFE, however can be built, but it must be used only for fish and/or wildlife .

      Shirley Kerns is 100% correct in her reading and understanding of the KBRA.

      Furthermore, HB 3369 passed in the 2009 session of the Oregon Legislature has precluded the state of Oregon from helping to fund ANY water storage projects in the Columbia River drainage (outside of the Umatilla Basin) for anything other than
      peak and ecological flows (for fish and/or wildlife).


    • Shirley , Please read the settlement again!

      There is the possibility of extra water storage for both fish and farms at the Barnes Ranch and BLM wetland areas.

      Furthermore, there is an additional 30,000 acre feet of water being requested from off project irrigators as a volunteer program. Water rights are being converted to instream use as we speak for fish and wildlife.

      The KBRA speaks of studying additional water storage in Long Lake and other areas. Long Lake and Whitleline Reservoir are being studied as we speak by the BOR. There is a storage application with water resources for these two reservoirs Considering the amount of water being requested the water right situation is very arduous to get around!! I think they are waiting to see how adjudication turns out and also the settlement. Without settlement WATER STORAGE will NEVER HAPPEN.



      • Excellent letter Shirley!!

        One voice of common sense and intelligence, amongst a mob of idiots!


      I believe the recently late J. W. Kerns proposed Aspen Lake for water storage in the 60's. Pumping in the water and using the power generated by the water free falling back out. May this great invisionary r.i.p.
      Yes water storage is vital but where were our officials on this one. I'll tell you they were lawyering up of all things, and stated that it was advised not to attend these meetings.
      Thanks for the article.


      No Shirley you are right. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars spent and not a single extra drop of water. Amazing isn't it! I suppose the next solution will include "dredging" the lake. I wonder how many billions that will take!


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