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Letter: Water impact goes beyond Klamath Project

Those farmers and ranchers who are not part of the Klamath Project are abandoned.

Published on June 25, 2018 6:01PM


On June 1 and June 8 you ran articles that concerned the Klamath Project irrigators and tribes trying to balance a limited water supply and the federal government trying to protect the Klamath farmers and ranchers, respectively.

However from your articles one would gather that the only farmers and ranchers affected in the Klamath Basin resided and worked on the Klamath Project. This is not so.

This year OWRD marked 140 wells that were subject to be regulated off in the Sprague River Basin which is not part of the Klamath Project. Between 86 and 89 wells were eventually shut off for the season. That is at least 6 months without the use of your wells for irrigation and stock water. These wells are owned by over 100 ranchers, farmers and the cities of Bly and Chiloquin. This again is to keep sucker fish happy, because we are being told by OWRD that our wells, which are being pumped from confined aquifers, are depleting the rivers.

The $557 million agriculture industry in the Klamath Basin, that you spoke about, includes the ranchers and farmers that are not part of the Klamath Project. But we are never mentioned in any way. Between 30,000 and 50,000 cattle are trucked into the Sprague River Basin each summer but this year cattle had to be turned away due to not being able to use well water. Not to mention the hundreds of tons of hay usually made in this area each year.

Rep. Greg Walden and Sens. Wyden and Merkley are proud of helping to pass $10.3 million in emergency drought funding that will pay for farmers and ranchers to pump emergency groundwater wells or to leave land idle in 2018. But it is never mentioned that that money only goes to the farmers and ranchers on the Klamath Project, no one else. Those who are not part of the Klamath Project are abandoned, no help for them. Families are close to losing farms and ranches on which they have made a living for decades.

Please give the farmers and ranchers that are not part of the Klamath Project but still citizens of Oregon the same respect in your paper as you give the Klamath Project.

Joan Sees

Beatty, Ore.



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