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Water shutoffs along Sprague coming. Some 40 upper Basin wells may be regulated, too
  by LACEY JARRELL, Herald and News 6/25/15
     Irrigators along the Sprague River will begin receiving water shutoff notices this week, according to water managers. Oregon Water Resources Director Scott White said shutoff notices were mailed   Wednesday. He said regulation will include water users with priority dates up to, but not including 1864.

   “The most senior folks will still continue to irrigate on the Sprague system,” White said.

   Some irrigators on the Wood and Sycan rivers, and their tributaries, have been regulated since May, when the Klamath Tribes called on their “time-immemorial” water right.

   The shut offs notices are issued as part of state-sanctioned adjudication regulation, which designates surface water rights based on priority date of property claims — the older the claim date, the more senior the water right. The priority system was first implemented in the Klamath Basin in 2013.

   Last week, the Bureau of Reclamation   called for water on behalf of the Klamath Project’s 1905 water right. White said OWRD has not determined if the call is valid or if shutoffs will occur.

   “We’ve gotten all of our measurements done. We’re in the process of post processing those measurements to make sure they are accurate before we calculate the final figures,” White said.        Doug Woodcock, administrator of the OWRD field science division, said based on existing and new rules that were adopted last year, about 40 upper Basin groundwater wells could be subject to regulation.

   “Not all 40 may get a regulation notice. It depends on where the calls are coming from,” Woodcock said.

   In addition to location of a water call, timing and instream deficiency will determine which, if any, wells will be regulated, according to OWRD Spokeswoman Racquel Rancier.

   Woodcock said OWRD has determined the Klamath Falls city wells are not likely to be impacted by water calls. He said managers do not anticipate issuing a regulation notice for the Wocus Well, which provides water to the area surrounding Sky Lakes Medical Center.

   Because the Fremont Well is near Upper Klamath Lake, it will receive a shut off notice, but the regulation is not expected to impact city water users, according to Woodcock.

   “The Fremont Well is the one the city doesn’t use because of water quality issues,” Rancier said.  

   Woodcock said he does not anticipate the city’s largest well field, the Conger well station, to be regulated anytime this year. The Conger wells provide 80 percent of the city’s water.

   “Regulating the Conger well field would not provide a benefit to users upstream,” Rancier said.

    ljarrell@heraldandnews.com  ; @LMJatHandN  



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