July 2019 Newsletter




Just a Day in the Life… P.1
Hearing next week in “Takings” Case P.1
Economic Guru, Willie Riggs Retires P. 2
Klamath Compact Commission P.3
Who & What are New P. 3
What has KWUA been working on P. 4
Hydro Update &Upcoming District Meetings P.5
KWUA Board Spotlight, Position #2 P.6

Issue 05 July 2019


On Monday, July 8, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear oral argument in Baley et al. v. United States, more commonly known as the “takings” case. An audio file of the argument will be available by the next day via the court’s website: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/oral-argument-recordings.

The issue in this case is whether the United States took property (water rights) from water users in the Klamath Project in 2001 such that it must pay just compensation to the individuals who are members of the affected class of persons. In 2017, Judge Marian Blank Horn of the United States Court of Federal Claims denied the water users’ claims based on the conclusion that they did not have a compensable property interest. For more detail, see the June 2019 issue of WaterWorks: https://kwua.org/newsletters.html.

The appeal will be considered by a three judge panel of the Federal Circuit. (The Federal Circuit has issued two orders previously during the long history of the case.) The appellate Court could affirm the Court of Claims’ ruling, or reverse the decision and order the Court of Claims to determine an amount of damages, among other things. Water users Lonny Baley and Luther Horsley, and retired attorney Bill Ganong, will be in attendance at the oral argument.

Economic Guru, Willie Riggs Retires

KWUA wishes Willie Riggs of Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center a happy retirement. After years of dedicating himself to agriculture and enlightening the Basin on the importance of the agricultural economy; Willie has decided to take his wellearned, permanent vacation. Willie’s work has educated policy makers, and played a critical role in receiving a drought declaration by then-Governor Ted Kulongoski. Riggs was invited to sit on a panel that former Executive Director Greg Addington assembled to show the direct correlation between Klamath Basin water supply for irrigation and the regional economy. Addington stated that “Willie was the first guy that looked at the whole basin as one region, not as individual areas ending at the state line”. He put together the Klamath Basin in Oregon with Tulelake in one economic piece, reflecting reality. As a direct result of that panel and his economic knowledge, the Basin received millions in drought funding to help the local economy. The information was instrumental and is still being used today in other policy and regulatory contexts. “I still find it hard to believe he’s retiring, he’s such an asset for the Basin,” stated Addington.

Economist Willie Riggs and retired water Attorney, Bill Ganong “reenacting” the fight over a dollar. Photo displayed in memory collage at retirement party.

KWUA continued to work with Riggs throughout his tenure in the basin. Riggs spoke at many of KWUA Fall Harvest Tours; which directly introduced tour participants to the critical significance of the Klamath agricultural economy.

4-H Board President Shawn Blodgett and & Willie Riggs share stories at Willie’s retirement party.

During his tenure, Riggs was an Associate Professor with Oregon State University Department of Agricultural Resource Economics and has been with Extension for over 23 years. He served as the Director for the Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center from 2007 through 2018. He has been involved in Klamath County 4-H and research and extension activities related to Production Economics related to Agriculture in the Great Basin, and Community Economic Impact Analysis. The final appointment of his career was as Regional Director over OSU Extension’s southern region, which includes Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties in addition to Klamath and Lake counties at KBREC.

KWUA wishes Willie the best in his retirement and good luck in his fishing and hunting.

Klamath River Compact Commission

KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons made a presentation to the Klamath River Compact Commission regarding the history of the Compact and its negotiation. Because of his considerable research on the subject, Paul was invited to make a presentation on how and why the Compact came to be.

Paul Simmons speaking to the Commission about the history of the compact.

The Klamath River Compact Commission held a meeting at OIT on June 19th. The Klamath River Compact, approved by Oregon and California, and the U.S. Congress in 1957 is still in effect but does not receive much attention.

The Compact requires that two of the three Compact commissioners be the Water Resources Directors of the two states, and the third is appointed by the President of the United States. Chairwoman Chrysten Lambert, Oregon Water Resources Director Tom Byler, and California Department of Water Resources Northern Regional Chief Curtis Anderson met to catch up on Commission business, hear invited presentations, and hear public comment. To learn more about the Klamath River Compact, visit www.kwua.org to view Mr. Simmons presentation.

Did You Know…

Klamath County 4-H is looking for sponsors for the 2019 Klamath County Fair 4-H Awards Program of all species. Sponsorships help support and reward many young people who work diligently all year. Your name/business will be associated with the sponsored 4-H award, and will be announced during the award presentation and your supplied banner on displayed each day during the fair. For more information contact Chelsea at KWUA (541) 883-6100 .


Washington D.C. Update

From The Ferguson Group, KWUA’s Washington Representative

In Congress, the House of Representatives recently advanced the FY 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations bill – which funds the Bureau of Reclamation. The Senate is just beginning its appropriations process.

The development of water supply and infrastructurerelated legislation continues apace. The House Natural Resources Committee’s Water, Oceans and Wildlife subcommittee held a hearing on a bill by Representative Josh Harder (D-CA) that promotes water supply reliability and improved water management for rural communities (H.R. 2473) and one by Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA) that would create an expanded grant program for water recycling and reuse projects (HR 1162).

Timing of Full House action on the Harder and Napolitano bills is yet to be determined.

In the Senate, Sens. Feinstein (D-CA) and Gardner (RCO) have introduced water infrastructure legislation, S. 1392. Two key highlights of S.1392 include: a Reclamation loan program for non-federal water supply projects that would make $8 to $12 billion available in lending authority; and authorization for $670 million in cost share grants for both federal and non-federal surface and groundwater storage projects and supporting conveyances. We expect a hearing in early to mid-July.

On the administrative and legal fronts, activities on Waters of the US regulation (WOTUS) continue. The Administration is on track to issue a replacement of the 2015 Obama rule by December.

Meanwhile in terms of WOTUS litigation, parts of New Mexico and the entire state of Colorado under the 2015 rule have recently elected to drop out of litigation that produced a legal suspension of enforcement of the rule in those areas. Also, the states of Ohio and Tennessee are appealing a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio decision refusing to block the 2015 WOTUS rule in those states. Finally, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma has rejected a request by the state of Oklahoma and others to throw out the rule; the state is appealing that ruling as well.

735 Commercial St., Suite 3000
Klamath Falls, OR 97601, US

(541) 883-6100 www.kwua.org

Draft TMDL for Water Temperature in Upper Klamath & Lost Rivers Subbasins in Oregon

July 15 is the deadline to submit comments to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on the Draft Upper Klamath and Lost River Temperature total maximum daily load document (TMDL) and implementation plan. KWUA staff is tasked with completion of a draft comment letter by July 10 for review by the Board of Directors and members who may wish to join in the comments or provide their own. Before and after the comment deadline, KWUA will engage with other stakeholders such as the Oregon Farm Bureau, Klamath County, eastside Project districts, and Oregon Water Resources Congress (OWRC) to discuss concerns regarding scientific and legal issues associated with the draft TMDL.

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to prepare TMDLs for waters where applicable water quality standards are not being met. (See the June edition of WaterWaterworks for more detail: https://kwua.org/ newsletters.html .

Staff recently sent an informational memorandum to the KWUA Board to highlight key points and concerns that could be of issue for Klamath Project irrigators. One concern is the flow “surrogate” for Lost River below Anderson-Rose and Malone dams, based on occasionally high temperatures in those reaches. Another concern is the “load allocations” for Straits Drain, Lost River Diversion Channel, and other facilities’ discharge to the Klamath, that would limit any changes in Klamath River temperature from those facilities to essentially zero. These elements of the TMDL would not become enforceable immediately, but the proposed TMDL would direct various parties including districts to develop implementation plans.

As part of the TMDL process, DEQ held a public hearing on June 26th at OIT to provide information and take oral comments on the draft TMDL. KWUA staff were in attendance to gain a better understanding of the process and be able to best to inform KWUA members on the implications of the proposed TMDL and provide effective comments.

What has KWUA been working on…

KWUA’s Board of Directors strives to keep member districts and their patrons, and other interested parties, informed. Board members help with the dissemination of information received at our monthly Board meetings, and staff produces a monthly newsletter.

The KWUA Board did not meet in June. Below is a recap of ongoing activities. If you would like more in depth information, we encourage you to contact your respective district board member, listed on page six.

Operations Committee Report

KWUA’s Operations Committee, chaired by Gene Souza, has been conducting meetings bi-weekly to coordinate deliveries between districts and address multi-district issues relating to Klamath Project operations. Given the complexity of the Klamath Project and the interconnectivity of the districts, these meetings provide a meaningful venue to engage in open discussion among managers.

The former KWUA operations committee has been scaled back and now includes district managers and appropriate KWUA staff. Bureau of Reclamation personnel, and others, are engaged as appropriate to issues that arise. Agenda items typically include an overview of the current demand, anticipated demand, and vetting operational or maintenance issues that occur within the districts. This platform has been successful, and is a reminder that Klamath Project water users are blessed with a strong group of managers. We look forward to the continuation of dialogue between the districts, and constructive engagement with Reclamation, to maximize our efficiency with our Project allocation and address other issues affecting the interests of the water users.

Klamath Project District managers & KWUA staff discuss operations for the 2019 irrigation season.

Power Committee Report

Positive progress continues on the study and report related to reducing power costs that Congress required in last year’s America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). In general, AWIA requires Reclamation to: i) identify a “power cost benchmark” based on the average delivered power cost paid in reclamation projects in the PacifiCorp Northwest that are similarly situated to the Klamath Project; and ii) develop a plan to achieve the power cost benchmark for districts and their patrons. Congress set an aggressive deadline for completion of this work, and Reclamation is on schedule to complete the work for a report to Congress by the end of this year.

KWUA’s Power Committee has been meeting bi-weekly with Reclamation and a capable team of consultants that Reclamation has engaged for this effort (headed by Kleinschmidt). To date, work has focused primarily on the first task, the ”Power Benchmark Study. As a result, the “similarly situated” projects that will be studied have been selected (Boise, Columbia Basin, Minidoka, Owyhee, Yakima). There will be a draft Power Benchmark document for the committee’s review by the end of August. In the meantime, work is occurring in parallel on investigation of the power cost reduction measures.

There will be a public meeting on this study process and related activities during September. Details will be provided in the August and September editions of WaterWorks.

Communications/Public Relations Committee Report

The KWUA Board has approved a Communications Implementation Plan submitted by Keppen & Associates for assistance in public relations and communications. The key components of the communications plan are:

1. Establishing goals and objectives; to provide context and perspective to this, we will assess what has worked in the past and what has not. KWUA members and other partners will be enlisted to describe the top three related local communications wins and three worst blunders from the last few years.
2. Identifying target audiences and associated messages;
3. Establishing communications “infrastructure”;
4. Initiating outreach; and
5. Developing a strategy to manage expected and unexpected challenges

Based on this plan, KWUA staff and Dan Keppen have developed an implementation plan with several discrete tasks and deadlines for deliverables and performance.

Hydro Update

As of June 30, 2019

• To date, the Project has utilized 104 TAF of the 322TAF of Project Supply from UKL
• Refuge = ~20 TAF total since March 1; all does not count against Project Supply
• ~6 TAF though Ady Canal, largely as a result of transferred water right
• ~14 TAF from Tulelake Irrigation District (D pumping plant) since March 1

To subscribe to this monthly newsletter, please email Chelsea at [email protected] or subscribe on our website www.kwua.org

Photo submitted by Jordan Jones: Farming off Lower Klamath Lake rd.


• KWUA’s Multi-District Mangers Operations regular scheduled meeting will be held July 2nd @10am
• Tulelake Irrigation District will hold its monthly Board of Directors meeting on July 8th @ 8pm
• KWUA will hold its monthly Board of Directors meeting on July 10th @ 2pm
• Klamath Project Drought Response Agency will hold its monthly Board of Directors meeting on July 10th @10am in the KWUA boardroom
• Pioneer District Improvement will hold its monthly Board of Directors Meeting on July 1st @ 5:30pm
• Klamath Irrigation District will hold its monthly Board of Directors meeting on July 11th @ 1pm
• Klamath Drainage District will hold its monthly Board of Directors meeting on July 18th @ 1:30pm


• KWUA offers notary services. Chelsea Shearer is a certified Notary Public and KWUA offers her notary services free to all members and patrons of member districts. To schedule an appointment with Chelsea, call the office at (541) 883-6100.

KWUA Board Member Spotlight, Position 2

Board member Jerry Enman is KWUA’s Secretary, as well as Vice President of the Klamath Irrigation District Board of Directors. He also sits on the Board of Klamath Project Drought Response Agency and is its Vice President. Jerry is additionally the chairman of KWUA’s Science Committee; overall, he spends countless hours volunteering in his Boards of Directors positions serving Project water users.

Jerry currently manages 300 acres of timberland and works part time for timber landowners. Over the last three years, he has harvested 900,000 board feet of timber. In the past Jerry operated his own alfalfa and hay ranch with his wife, Jonna, between Klamath Falls and Merrill while raising his two daughters. Recently they have leased their land to local growers to continue to farm the land as it was intended. When Jerry is not in a Board or committee meeting, he is either enjoying time with his granddaughter or volunteering and organizing forest trail crews. He volunteers with Klamath Trails Alliance and Pacific Crest Trail Association, creating and managing walking and biking trails in designated forest areas.

In 2017 Jerry was appointed to the KWUA board of directors as an alternate for Position 2; he is currently the Primary for that Position.

To subscribe to this monthly newsletter, please email Chelsea at [email protected] or subscribe on our website www.kwua.org

Gene Souza is the Manager for Klamath Irrigation District. He enlisted in the Army after graduating from Henley High School in 1989 and retired from active military service in 2019 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He has served in numerous leadership positions directly influencing Department of Defense policies. His operational deployments include Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Counter-Drug Operations, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Gene’s education includes degrees from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon, American Military University, and the Command and General Staff College.

Gene spends his off time with his wife Tricia. Together they have three daughters and five granddaughters. As the new owner of a small homestead, Gene spends most his free time fixing fences, doing yard work, or finding reasons to use his new John Deere tractor.

Former Board member Steve Kandra is enjoying the simple life with his 1956 Thunderbird during the 2019 Klamath Kruise.


At the March Board of Directors meeting, the At-Large board members and officers were seated creating the 2019 KWUA Board of Directors.

Position 1– TID: Brad Kirby & Kraig Beasly
Position 2– KID: Jerry Enman & Gene Souza
Position 3– KDD: Luther Horsley & Tracey Liskey
Position 4– At-Large: Gary Wright & Mike Byrne
Position 5– SVID/MID: Rob Unruh & Ryan Hartman
Position 6– Poe Valley: Luke Robison & Jason Chapman
Position 7– Van Brimmer & Sunnyside: Marc Staunton & Dave Jensen
Position 8– Ady & Pioneer: Curt Mullis & Jason Flowers
Position 9– KBID: Ryan Kliewer & George Ranjus
Position 10– At-Large: Tricia Hill & Matt Trotman
Position 11– At-Large: Ben Duval & Bob Gasser

Staff Executive Director: Paul Simmons
Deputy Director: Mark Johnson,
Executive Assistant: Chelsea Shearer
KWUA Officers
President: Tricia Hill, Vice President: Ben DuVal, Treasurer: Luke Robison, Secretary: Jerry Enman

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Klamath Water User Association