Bob Gasser supplies fertilizer to irrigators
and is on the board of directors for the Klamath Water
Bob Gasser isn’t an irrigator, but he suffered
along with farmers and ranchers when the water was turned
off in 2001.
The lifelong Klamath Basin resident and his
brother-inlaw Chris Moudry own Basin Fertilizer and
Chemicals, and 75 percent of their customers were
on-Project irrigators whose fields suddenly didn’t need
“We hauled water to cattle troughs, we painted
the swimming pool in Malin, we kept busy every way we
could,” Gasser says. He was one of the Bucket Brigade
organizers, and became accustomed to speaking in front of
television news crews. Meanwhile, Gasser’s company kept
its employees on the payroll and, like most irrigators,
weathered the storm.
“What’s kept me here is I love what I do,”
Gasser says, adding that he was grateful to hit the fields
again after the water crisis ended.
At the same time, Gasser is
in the middle of the politics of irrigation once again. He
is a member of the board of directors for the Klamath
Water Users Association, which represented more than a
irrigation and improvement districts during the past two
years of Klamath water settlement talks.
He acknowledges that some Upper Basin irrigators
aren’t happy with the settlement plan, which calls on them
to idle 30,000 acre-feet of water. Gasser says they’ve
made concessions before, taking about
90,000 acres out of production — the Barnes, Wood and
Agency ranches along with other land — and weren’t
rewarded with stable river flows and lake levels.
“We sold out our neighbors,” Gasser says. “That
land should still be in production. I understand why the
Upper Basin is upset.”