Our Klamath Basin
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
the season to remember the reason for water storage
February 12, 2009,
Herald and News Editorial By Pat Bushey
This winterís snowpack is light enough to worry those who will be
depending on water for crops this summer. A serious shortage hurts
not just agriculture, but the whole economy along with fish and
Water shortages also bring up the subject of Long Lake and its
possible use for water storage. Itís been studied for years by the
Bureau of Reclamation and the studies go on. And on.
OK, so the length of time it takes is necessary and lots of big
questions have to get answered. But as time slides by and one
antsy water year follows another, the need for storage becomes
more apparent even if the best site for the storage and a way to
finance it hasnít been decided.
Long Lake, a dry lake bed east of Upper Klamath Lake, is the
front-runner as a site. The Bureau has yet to determine whether it
will actually hold water. Assuming it will, then come questions
about cost and how to pay for it.
Water levels in the lakes used as reservoirs for the 240,000-acre
Klamath Basin Reclamation Project were at about 65 percent of
average as of Jan. 1, and the snow of the past few days hasnít
done much to alleviate that. There is still time to recover,
In the long view the need to push for water storage has to be
hard-wired into the Bureau to make sure the studies keep moving as
fast they can. Beyond that, though, local water users and public
officials also need to make sure that elected federal officials
understand the issue.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden gets it. Weíre sure of that. Weíre less sure
of Oregonís two U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. Both of
them are from Portland and Merkley is brand new.
That doesnít automatically mean they donít know much about the
Klamath Basin ó Wyden has been good about visiting the area ó but
it does put an extra burden on people in the Basin to give water
issues a high visibility in Washington, D.C. The truth is the
Basin needs support from the two senators more than they need the
Basinís political support. If you doubt that, just look at the
Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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