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Chiloquin water could be vulnerable to water call

CHILOQUIN — The impending cancellation of the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA) could affect municipal water in Chiloquin, with city officials planning to meet next week to discuss their options.

The Klamath Tribes has exercised its right to end the agreement and the decision is awaiting ratification from the U.S. Department of Interior.

Tribal Chairman Don Gentry has said the UKBCA was dependent upon the now-dissolved Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Without the KBRA, parties in the UKBCA have been unable to reach a consensus.

On Tuesday, Chiloquin Mayor Mark Cobb told the city council, when the UKBCA is dissolved, the city’s wells will no longer be exempt from a tribal call on surface water for the Sprague and Williamson rivers. He said Gentry approached him Aug. 17 to discuss the issue and begin the process of finding a solution.

“(Gentry) has stated that they have a couple options that they can do,” said Cobb.

One solution could be a partial water call that would not affect the city. Another option would be to drill a well more than a mile from the rivers so it would not be affected by a call.

Cobb said a shutoff of the city wells would also affect the tribal administration building and housing units, so the tribes are invested in finding a solution.

“They’re going to work very hard with us to try to secure another well for us,” he said.

Cobb said he has reached out to the Oregon Water Resource Department and was told grant funding may be available for a new well. The city already plans to build a new well on the west side of the city with roughly $500,000 in funding available.

But a well farther from the rivers could cause additional concerns, said City Engineer Dave Scalas. He said digging a new well instead of rehabilitating an old well increases the risk of digging in a bad location, while the piping to connect the well to the water system could cost $270,000 alone.

“One mile away from the rivers is kind of far,” said Scalas.

The council agreed to hold a workshop Aug. 29 to further discuss the issue and plan to invite tribal and state water officials to take part in conversations. The meeting will be open to the public, though there will not be a time set aside for public comment.




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              Page Updated: Wednesday September 13, 2017 01:11 PM  Pacific

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