Water shut offs taking place in upper Klamath Basin
Herald and News
by Lacey Jarrell 8/2/16
surface water deliveries along six upper Basin streams are
experiencing water restrictions.
Watermaster Tyler Martin, Oregon Water Resources Department
has sent well and surface water shutoff notices to
landowners along the Sprague and Sycan rivers, and Trout,
Whisky, Larkin and Fivemile creeks.
compared to data collected in August in the past 50 years,
flows at the mouth of the Sprague River are lower than
Tribes called on its “time immemorial” water right to
increase flows in the six waterways on May 13.
adjudication regulation provides surface water rights based
on priority date of property claims, and was first
implemented in the Klamath Basin in 2013. Adjudication is
based on “first in time, first in right,” meaning the older
the claim date, the more senior the water right.
Martin, Trout, Whisky and Larkin creeks were regulated to
time immemorial rights. The other streams have been
regulated to 1905, meaning streamside landowners with water
rights more recent than 1905 are experiencing water
looked like a good one to get the water we needed,” Martin
Wood River was briefly regulated, but flows came up and the
regulation was lifted.
agricultural Bonanza ADR wells were regulated July 14. The
shutoff is based on groundwater levels, not on a water call,
according to Martin. He said the wells — owned by 13
landowners — are regulated if groundwater levels are a half
a foot lower than the elevation of Lost River.
the flow of Bonanza Big Springs, which contributes to Lost
River when flowing,” Martin said.
Martin, the Tribes’ water call mostly affects surface water
rights. Only wells located along Whisky Creek and Lower
Sprague River were regulated after the Tribes’ water call
was validated, he said.
regulations will be lifted based on natural stream flow and
“We have to see
what both of those trends are doing before we can make
decisions about lifting regulation,” he said.
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