OVER 60 YEARS OF REPRESENTING FARMERS AND
RANCHERS OF THE KLAMATH PROJECT

WATERWORKS- SEPTEMBER ISSUE

Inglorious End to 2022 Klamath Project Operations the Interim Operations Plan

The Klamath Project is designed to deliver water to over 200,000 acres of irrigated land. In a typical year, irrigation begins by April and continues through late October. A single year’s agricultural production from that land averages 840 million pounds of potatoes, enough cereal grain to feed 600,000 people for a year, millions of pounds of beef and supplemental feed for 300,00 dairy cattle, and a similar abundance of onions and other food.

This year, different story . . . 

This year, federal water policy resulted in the complete desiccation of many tens of thousands of otherwise productive acres, with some land receiving a very limited supply. None received anything close to an adequate supply from the Project.

Two critical national wildlife refuges – Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges – depend on the same water delivery system as Project agriculture. In 2022, those refuges are bone dry, for the first time ever.

The dry federal wildlife refuges are also the product of the current federal water policy, which allocates the lion’s share of water from the Upper Klamath Basin to fish species listed as threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

In the meantime, there is no evidence that drying up farms and wildlife habitats is benefiting ESA-listed fish populations. No one seems to dispute this, but the failed federal water policy continues.

Project diversions of water from Upper Klamath Lake began on April 15, and ended on August 22. The total amount diverted was about one-quarter of the water needed for full crop production.

Western states are experiencing drought. Over the last century, the Project has witnessed drought periods equal to or worse than the current drought. During those times, the Project diverted adequate water to meet demand. The difference between then and now is the federal policy of allocating water away from irrigation and food production, at a time when food security is theoretically a national priority.

There are legal issues in need of attention. There are technical and scientific issues in need of attention. But policymakers must understand, at the most basic level, how dramatically things have been turned upside-down.

A Canal is the largest Project diversion facility and the only Project facility that takes water directly from Upper Klamath Lake. For over a century, it has diverted variable percentages of the total inflow to Upper Klamath Lake, in wet years and dry. But the last two years, the A Canal’s proportionate share of available water has been the lowest in history.  See chart below.

LOOKING TOWARDS NEXT YEAR

Since early 2021, KWUA has publicly advocated for the need to abandon the so-called Interim Operations Plan (IOP) driving Project operations and institute a new operating regime for the Project. The last three years have more than conclusively demonstrated that the IOP simply does not work in years with below-average precipitation. Upper Klamath Lake never fills, resulting in turmoil and hardship over the coming months for all. Simply stated, the IOP is a resounding failure. It cannot continue.

After the torturous experience of this year, with the drama over the so-called “50-50 split” and the off-on-off PacifiCorp “borrow” operation, another necessary change has become evident; it is unrealistic for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to be perceived as the decisionmaker for Project operations or be effective in operating the Project for its authorized irrigation purpose. Owing to the dynamics of the Department of the Interior and other factors, Reclamation currently lacks the capacity to make sound water management decisions regarding operating plans for the Klamath Project. Its role must change.

There is no silver bullet to Project irrigation’s current predicament and there are no guarantees for next year.

Operationally, however, one solution is very clear – we need to fill Upper Klamath Lake during the upcoming months, especially if drought conditions persist. Filling the lake provides options and opportunities for all parties and interests. Yes, we may have another year of low inflows and challenging conditions, but if the lake is reasonably full at the start of the summer, then at least we all have a chance. As farmers know, you never finish if you don’t get started.

As we have seen during the last three years, maintaining the so-called “minimum” (a.k.a. “Hardy”) flows at Iron Gate Dam despite drought conditions requires releasing water from Upper Klamath Lake at levels that will ultimately prevent it from filling. The only way to fill the lake is to limit releases from the lake for river flows.

We are not naïve. There will be opposition to any deviations from flow levels that have been cast in stone during the last three years. But that practice is a recipe for disaster, which should by now be evident to all.

KWUA ACTIVITIES TO LIMIT PUMPING COSTS

In recent months, KWUA has been very active in rate cases at the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC), seeking to limit potential increases in costs for irrigation pumping. Pacific Power provides electricity for irrigation pumpers in Klamath County, and it may only charge rates approved by the PUC.

Last March, Pacific Power initiated a general rate case (GRC), which included the request that the PUC approved a 13.2 percent increase in irrigation pumping cost, effective January 1, 2023. The initiation of a new GRC came as a surprise, because the most recent GRC was only two years ago.

The rate increase requests in Pacific Power’s March, 2022 filing were primarily driven by increased costs for wildfire mitigation and vegetation management, and the requested increase would also have authorized higher returns on equity for stockholders.

KWUA and Oregon Farm Bureau Federation jointly intervened in opposition to the proposed increase.

KWUA and OFBF have filed written testimony of expert Lloyd Reed, who identified several reasons that the proposed irrigation rate increases are excessive.  KWUA has also engaged in extensive settlement discussions with the goal of limiting rate increases. “We’re not happy to see a power cost increase of any kind,” said KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons. “But we have been working steadily to keep the increase as low as possible.”

Cost recovery established in a GRC is the major factor affecting power rates, but some components of the overall power rate are determined in separate cases.

For example, the PUC makes annual adjustments in rates based on projected production (such as fuel) costs and wholesale power market rates for the upcoming year; this can result in annual increases or increases in power rates. 

Given high natural gas prices and projected wholesale power costs, there will be an upward adjustment of 4.8 percent in the irrigation pumping rate in 2023, which will be additive to any increase that results from the GRC.

Other variables and associated rate cases outside the GRC will also cause increases in 2023, but these increases are of significantly less magnitude.

Pacific Power is also pursuing a GRC in the California PUC, where it has also proposed a major percent increase in pumping costs. That case will not be decided this year.

DAM REMOVAL PROCESS ADVANCES

On August 26, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) concerning the proposed removal of four hydroelectric dams on the mainstem river owned by PacifiCorp, an investor-owned utility. In the FEIS, FERC staff recommends that the Commission take necessary actions to authorize dam removal, subject to numerous conditions. 

The FEIS can be retrieved here: https://elibrary.ferc.gov/eLibrary/filelist?accession_num=20220826-3006

The FEIS is a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires federal agencies to prepare a document disclosing the environmental impacts of a proposed decision, as well as mitigation measures and alternatives. The FEIS also provides responses to comments that were submitted on a draft of the document.

The publication of the FEIS is a necessary predicate for FERC to make a decision on whether to approve license surrender and decommissioning (removal), as well as for any other federal agency decisions that may be required such as the Army Corps of Engineers issuing a permit to authorize the deposit of dredged or fill material in the Klamath River.

FERC may not legally take any action until 30 days after the issuance of the FEIS. A FERC decision in favor of dam removal would be in the form of an order authorizing license surrender and

decommissioning. November 17 is the next scheduled FERC meeting on which the Commission could take action, and the other remaining meeting in 2022 occurs on December 15.  There is no deadline for FERC action, but there is extraordinary policy pressure from federal and state administrations, tribes, and others for FERC to act expeditiously.

Dam removal proponents point to a major increase in fish – including salmonid – habitat that will become available once dams are removed; currently, fish cannot move upstream past Iron Gate Dam, the most downstream of the four dams. Also, advocates for dam removal anticipate significant improvement of Klamath River water quality from the elimination of the reservoirs behind the dams.

Opponents have focused on risks to downstream properties, potential environmental and property damage due to the release of sediment behind the current dams, impacts to properties located around the reservoirs that would be eliminated, and loss of recreation and a water source for firefighting.

In 2016, KWUA committed to a position of “not opposed” to the Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement that was entered into by PacifiCorp and proponents of dam removal. That said, there have been significant actions on some fronts, and a lack of action on others, that give rise to concerns with the current situation.

KWUA has identified significant negative effects on Project irrigators that would occur as a result of removing these dams and is advocating federal legislation to mitigate those impacts. KWUA has also identified several critical commitments and matters of context and policy that have been overlooked and ignored as the process has moved forward. Click here for report.

If FERC authorizes dam removal, assuming no delays from litigation or otherwise, preparatory work would begin in the last part of 2023, with the actual removal occurring during the dry months of 2024. All four dams would be removed at essentially the same time. 

The party responsible for dam removal would be the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC). The KRRC is a nonprofit corporation formed exclusively for the purpose of pursuing dam removal. The first $200 million toward dam removal is derived from customer surcharges that have been collected from PacifiCorp customers in Oregon and California. In addition, there is $250 million available from Proposition 1A, a water bond approved by California voters in 2014.

Dam removal proponents have expressed a high degree of confidence that the dam removal project

can be completed with the funds available. However,

based on a 2020 FERC order that threatened to stop the project without a financial backstop in place, PacifiCorp and the Governors of Oregon and California have committed to cover cost overruns, in equal shares. This has led to inquiries from Representatives Bentz and LaMalfa, the members of Congress in whose districts the dams lie, about the basis and implications of those commitments.

The Ferguson Group:  D.C. Report

KWUA and TFG continue to work with the congressional delegation on Capitol Hill and the federal agencies regarding KWUA’s priorities in 2022-2023, which include: deficiencies of the IOP and the urgent need to address the ESA re-consultation process in a logical and correct manner; identify funding opportunities to support the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency; and legislation to address operational needs and mitigate negative impacts of dam removal on the Klamath River. 

On the agency front, FERC staff has issued a final environmental impact statement that recommends the removal of four dams on the Klamath River.

The staff’s recommendation, which largely echoes an earlier draft opinion, sets up a vote on the nearly $500 million project by the five-member FERC later this year.

On Capitol Hill, Congress is on its six-week summer break. However, prior to leaving for the summer, the Senate and House passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with uniform Republican opposition to the bill. The President signed it the following week.

TFG has issued a special report on the IRA which can be found here. A key element of the bill included $4 billion in emergency drought funding, intended primarily for Colorado River-related needs; however, efforts continue to identify whether this funding could be used to address a portion of Klamath Basin needs in future years.

On appropriations, the continued delay in completing work on the 12 FY 2023 appropriations bills means there will be a need for Congress to pass a temporary continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government at current FY 2022 levels until sometime into the new fiscal year which begins on October 1. With the midterm election looming, it is expected the initial CR will run through mid-December.

When Congress returns from its August break, its remaining working days prior to the midterm election will be few: the Senate is scheduled to return on September 6 and the House returning on September 13. The House is expected to adjourn for the midterm elections on September 30 (giving them only 11 legislative days) with the Senate scheduled to be in session until October 21. It is widely expected both chambers will adjourn not long after the CR is passed.

However, a relatively busy “lame duck” session in November and December is expected, both to complete the appropriations process, but also to consider additional legislative measures, notably the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), the authorizing bill for the Army Corps of Engineers which in years past has served as a vehicle to enact additional legislative provisions related to Reclamation matters

Stewardship Planning Process Grants Approved FOR KWUA

In August, KWUA received notification that it had been awarded two additional grants intended to fund the “Lost River/Lower Klamath Watershed Stewardship Planning Process.” The total grant funding for this project is $448,845.

This Stewardship Planning Process is a long-contemplated process, structured around voluntary compliance with forthcoming “Total Maximum Daily Loads” (TMDL) requirements for the Lost River, Klamath River, and Upper Klamath Lake. However, beyond simply satisfying the federal Clean Water Act, KWUA envisions this process as an opportunity to identify, evaluate, plan and fund major, Project-wide operational improvements, and address water security for agriculture. 

Following further board and member district coordination and input, KWUA staff plan to roll out details on the planning process and initial concepts to be investigated in next month’s newsletter. 

HUNTING CLOSED FOR THE 2022-2023 SEASON ON LOWER KLAMATH AND TULE LAKE REFUGES

This includes the Oregon portion of Lower Klamath Refuge known as the Oregon Straits Unit.

Due to severe drought and water shortages, hunting on Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges is closed for the 2022-2023 season. The water on Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges is gone, leaving the wetland and surrounding upland habitats on both refuges in extremely poor condition, with little standing vegetation and no water to support the plants and animals that remain.

This closure is a temporary measure to allow waterfowl, and pheasant populations to recover from these unprecedented habitat conditions. We expect hunting to resume on the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges when water returns to the refuges and habitat conditions improve.

For more information please visit: www.fws.gov/refuge/tule-lake/visit-us/activities/hunting

What Has KWUA Been Working On…

KWUA’s Board of Directors strives to keep member districts, 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 held its regular business meeting on August 10, 2021.  Below is a recap of the ongoing activities. If you would like more in-depth information, we encourage you to contact your respective district board member listed on our website.

New Board Member Selected 

The board filled a vacancy for board director position #8, which became open after Jason Flowers’s resignation. Nick Grounds, manager for Shasta View and Malin Irrigation Districts, was elected to serve in the position.

Operations Committee Report

Operations Committee Chair Gene Souza provided his monthly report on hydrologic conditions and overall Project operations. One interesting note is that January-June is the 27th driest for that period in the last 128 years, but June 2022 was the 23rd wettest June during the same period. Williamson River inflows are very low for 2020-2022 (25 percent or less than normal). Link River Dam inflow and outflow data demonstrate how high river releases continue to be despite dry years. As of August 10, Upper Klamath Lake elevations were about one foot below average for this time of year.

Since April, discussion has occurred with Reclamation and other agencies regarding the actual amount of Project Supply from Upper Klamath Lake that Reclamation considers to be available this year. A major focus has been Project water users’ concern with the potential 50-50 “split” between Project diversion and retention in Upper Klamath Lake of any inflows to Upper Klamath Lake above what was anticipated in mid-April, which has no known basis. With a 50-50 split, the projected end-of-year lake elevation is 4138.62 (calculations updated to August 31). This is nearly one-foot higher (acre-feet more) than the previously identified biological need of elevation 4137.72 stated in a 2013 biological opinion, representing a loss of over 60,000 acre-feet to Project Supply as compared to that biological opinion.

On the east side of the Project, there have been no deliveries from Clear Lake, and deliveries from Gerber Reservoir terminated in the last half of July.

Meeting with DOI Leadership 

On August 1, Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Parks, and Wildlife Matt Strickler met with a group at the KWUA office. KWUA also met recently (on June 27) with these federal officials and several others. The meeting topics included immediate Project operations issues such as end-of-season Upper Klamath Lake elevations, 2023 Project operations and re-consultation generally, overall dynamics in the basin, and other topics. KWUA emphasized that if there is to be no agreed-upon approach to near-term Project operations and consultation, an ESA consultation must focus on analyzing the effects of the Project, and not perpetuate

the bargaining-for-water approach of recent years. 

Mr. Strickler confirmed information that KWUA had heard informally; that Mr. Strickler has accepted an increased role in the Klamath Basin as a representative of the Department of the Interior as a whole. He will also be supported in this role by Jennifer Frozena from the Solicitor’s Office in Portland.

The persons in attendance from the Project at the August 1 meeting were: Ben DuVal, Ry Kliewer, Marc Staunton, Luther Horsley, Rodney Cheyne, Tricia Hill, Scott White, Sam Henzel, Bill Walker, Moss Driscoll, and Paul Simmons. Some of these attendees provided perspectives at the August KWUA board meeting. Mr. DuVal believed that it was significant that the Commissioner has visited the Klamath Basin three times during her tenure. Mr. Cheyne stated that the August 1 meeting was relatively better than a larger meeting that occurred in late June. All agreed that there is still a long way to go to realize an overall more reasonable federal approach to Project operations.

Executive Director Report  

Oregon Rate Cases

Paul Simmons reported on the status of two rate cases in the Oregon PUC and encouraged board members to read a written report provided by KWUA’s consultant Lloyd Reed. The board approved a proposed settlement in the rate case concerning the 2023 Transition Adjustment Mechanism. See related story on page 3.

Keno Reach Fish screens outreach

On August 3, two Family Water Alliance (FWA) (http://familywateralliance.com/) staff members visited KWUA’s office, and met with Gene Souza, Scott White, Brad Kirby, and KWUA staff.

FWA is based in California. One of its significant activities has been to provide assistance to landowners and districts in the Sacramento Valley with respect to the installation of fish screens for their diversions. They assist with lining up financing, permitting, and installation of the screens, which are then turned over to the landowner or operator of the diversion.

FWA has a contract to assist with outreach to diverters from the Keno pool, in anticipation that these diversions will be in need of fish screens in the relatively near future. We learned that Trout Unlimited has been working on an inventory of diversions along with the prioritization of diversions for screening. This activity does not address the large Project diversions such as North and Ady Canals, Miller Hill Pumping Plant, or Station 48.

FWA’s current task is limited to outreach to landowners to describe the Sacramento Valley experience and help the landowners understand how they may be able to address these issues in the relatively near future.

The board approved the recommendation that KWUA lend its name as a supporter for this effort and assist in providing names and disseminating information that we are provided.

Link River June 2022- Photo by Chelsea Shearer

Litigation Concerning Project Operations

Mr. Simmons’s monthly written report to the board described recent activity and the status of various lawsuits related to the Project, and he summarized those items at the August board meeting.

KID v. OWRD

On July 15, the Oregon Court of Appeals held an oral argument in the Klamath Irrigation District’s litigation against the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD). OWRD is asking the Court of Appeals to reverse the decision of the Marion County Circuit Court that ordered OWRD to take action which led to OWRD’s issuance of orders to Reclamation directing that Reclamation not to release stored water for purposes for which there is not a water right.

It is unknown when the Court of Appeals will issue its decision on the appeal. In the meantime, this case is also relevant to the “Yurok” litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, discussed immediately below.

“Yurok Litigation”: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

On July 29, KWUA, Klamath Irrigation District (KID), and OWRD made significant filings in this case. In part, the filings responded to previously-filed motions by the United States and the Yurok Tribe that argued that OWRD’s orders issued as a result of KID v. OWRD (above) are preempted by federal law.

KWUA’s filings included a cross-motion for summary judgment on both the United States’ Crossclaim and KWUA’s Counterclaim against the United States.

KID filed an opposition to the United States’ Motion for Summary Judgment. KID also filed several other motions. Some of them pertain to the United States or Yurok Tribe’s motions for summary judgment. In addition, KID filed: (1) a motion in the federal district court to stay the litigation until the Klamath Basin Adjudication is completed; and (2) a motion with the Judicial Panel on

Multidistrict Litigation. In the motion to the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, KID requests that all Klamath Project-related litigation in federal courts be transferred to a single judge for pretrial proceedings. That motion will be heard on September 29, 2022. The date of a decision is uncertain.

KID v. Reclamation

In a matter that KID initiated in state court in April of 2021, there is presently an issue pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Specifically, in April of 2021, KID filed an emergency motion for preliminary injunction in Klamath County Circuit Court, asking that court, in its Klamath Basin Adjudication role, to issue a preliminary injunction requiring Reclamation to stop the release of stored water to the Klamath River. Reclamation transferred the case to federal court under an automatic procedure available to federal agencies. Then, KID filed a motion to remand the case back to the state court.

On April 25, 2022, the federal district court denied the motion to remand the case to state court. Subsequently, KID petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court for a writ of mandamus directed to the district court. (It is reasonable to think of that petition as similar to an appeal of the denial of the motion to remand.) The Ninth Circuit required the United States to respond to the petition, which it did. OWRD also filed a response to the petition, and KID replied to the federal and state governments. The Ninth Circuit has scheduled a hearing on the petition for November 10, 2022.

It is uncertain when the Ninth Circuit will rule on whether this case should be sent back to the Klamath County Circuit Court.

Water Policy Director Report  

Joint Letter and Re-consultation

Mr. Driscoll updated the board on the development of a joint letter with the Klamath Tribes opposing the extension of the IOP, reporting that the drafting and execution of the letter went smoothly, working with the Tribes’ staff and counsel. Mr. Driscoll reported that the letter seems to have some positive effect, as KWUA has since learned that discussions have begun between Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about some form of the consultation process. This does not appear to be full-scale abandonment of the IOP, but might be a sign of recognition that something will indeed need to change.

Related, Mr. Driscoll confirmed the clear perception that the federal agencies do not have a plan to proceed. He suggested that this situation presents opportunities, first and foremost, to ensure that the Project is not subject to the same operations that have occurred over the last three years. More broadly, it may be an opportunity to reshape approaches to Project operations. Whether other stakeholders wish to engage meaningfully is an obvious issue, and there is no simple or apparent answer to that question.

Watershed Stewardship Process

Shifting to the longer term, Mr. Driscoll reported that the concepts KWUA has raised in recent discussions about opportunities to conserve and modify the management of water within the Project have received apparent traction with federal and state leaders.

NFWF Grant Agreement

KWUA’s grant application for approximately $80,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation was recently approved and that similar news is expected on the larger $300,000 grant from Reclamation. These funds will be used to support the stewardship planning process. Additionally, there has been an indication from Reclamation that funding may be available in future years for this work.

KBMP Membership

The board approved Mr. Driscoll’s recommendation that KWUA become a member of the Klamath Basin Monitoring Program (KBMP), which is a voluntary, non-binding group of federal, state, and nonprofits with the objective of coordinating water quality monitoring. Mr. Driscoll suggested that such membership was appropriate given the water-quality origins of KWUA’s current stewardship planning process, as well as the overall need to keep in touch with this group’s work.

Poe Valley Irrigation District Annual Meeting Notice

The ANNUAL MEETING OF THE LANDOWNERS OF THE POE VALLEY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT WILL BE HELD

FRIDAY – October 28, 2022, AT 5:30 PM

LOST RIVER RANCH HEADQUARTERS OFFICE

Congratulations to all the 4-H and FFA members of the Klamath County Fair . . . KWUA Supports You

Pictured Left to Right: Jace Shearer – Res. Champion Jr. Showman, Res. Champion Ranch Raised Market Lamb, and Spring Champion Crossbred Ewe. Bayli Ladner – Res. Champion Intermediate Showman & Res. Champion Market Lamb. Jayci Ladner – Champion Jr. Showman and Res. Champion Crossbred Ewe. Jamie Whitaker – Senior Champion Showman, Champion Crossbred Ewe, and Overall Champion Sheep Showman for the 2022 Klamath County Fair. Photo was taken as members competed for the Champion Overall Showman. Award accolades listed are only for KWUA sponsored awards. These four members had very successful projects with other multiple accolades.  Photo composed by Chelsea Shearer
 

KWUA’s mission is to preserve and enhance the viability of irrigated agriculture for our membership in the Klamath Basin, for the benefit of current and future generations. With this mission in mind, KWUA has continuously found ways to support the Klamath County and Siskiyou 4-H and FFA, such as donating our employee Chelsea Shearer’s time to be a member of the Board of Directors, a Superintendent, and a Club leader. For many years, KWUA has donated to prizes and awards across the species to reward future generations and let them know that we support them. 4-H is a hands-on approach to agriculture that has a proven track record to grow life skills like confidence, independence, resilience, and compassion through stages of development through experiences. We believe these kids are our future, and to be a vested part of that is just one part of creating a legacy in our youth.

The 71st Annual Tulelake Butte Valley Fair will be held September 8-11, 2022 where we will celebrate the theme “American Grown Traditions” We hope you can join us!

KWUA would like to recognize and thank all the 4-H and FFA members who raised an animal project and brought their projects to either the Klamath County Fair or Tulelake Butte Valley Fair.

This year, KWUA sponsored four (listed above) Showmanship Champions, the Champion, Reserve Champion, and Spring Champion Crossbred Ewes, the Reserve Champion Market, and Ranch Raised Lambs at the Klamath County Fair that took place on August 4-7. The Tulelake Butte Valley Fair (at the time of print) has not happened yet, however, but we look forward to sharing KWUA’s six sponsored Beef and Swine Showmanship Champions as well as the Ag Mechanics Reserve Grand Champion in our October edition.

The Water Well Abandonment, Repair, and Replacement Fund

The Water Well Abandonment, Repair, and Replacement Fund (Fund) was authorized through the passage of HB 2145 to provide financial assistance to persons or members of a federally recognized Indian tribe in Oregon to permanently abandon, repair, or replace a water well used for household purposes.

Financial assistance is available for low to moderate-income households to abandon, repair, or replace affected wells used for household purposes in areas recently impacted by drought or wildfire.

Questions? Visit the website: https://www.oregon.gov/owrd/programs/GWWL/WARRF/Pages/default.aspx

Email: OWRD.Well.Funding@water.oregon.gov

Call: (503) 779-5763

RCAC Household Water Well and Septic System  Loan/Grant Program*

Low interest loans and grants available to construct, refurbish, or replace individual water well and septic systems!

Program Requirements:

§ Residence must be in a rural area, town, or community in RCAC’s 13-State service area with a population not exceeding 50,000.

§ Applicants must own and occupy the home being improved or be purchasing the home.

§ New home construction and community systems are not eligible.

§ Household income may not exceed $37,730 for California. Please call for other States’ income eligibility.

For information/application, please visit www.rcac.org or contact:

Deborah Almazan, Loan Officer, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC)

2978 North Fork Road, Fernley, NV 89408  Email: dalmazan@rcac.org  Cell: (725) 221-0474;

Fax: (775) 501-6915

Hydro Update* as of 9/2/2022

·  The Klamath Project Water Supply as been exhausted (per Reclamation accounting) as of August 22   

· Upper Klamath Lake Elevation is 4138.95 ft

· Storage in Upper Klamath Lake is 199,674 AF (36%)

· Storage in Clear Lake is  38,280 AF (9%)

· Storage in Gerber Reservoir is 1524 AF (1%)

· Flow of Klamath River Below IGD is 1040 cfs

· Link River flow is 784 cfs

· A-Canal is closed and flow is –3.44cfs

· All out of stream uses on tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake for which the Klamath Tribes have instream water rights have been regulated off until the end of the irrigation season or otherwise notified by OWRD.

District 17 Water Master Office has moved to 3125 Crosby St., Klamath Falls. If you are experiencing a domestic well issue, please report your well issues to the Water Master’s office, via phone or  the county website. 

Klamath County Emergency Management Services is now handling all water deliveries associated with failed Domestic Wells. 

KWUA to announce the date for the 14th Annual Fall Harvest Tour soon.  

KWUA’s Fall Harvest Tour is a valuable opportunity for community members and policy leaders to see first-hand the impact agriculture has on our local and regional economies, as well as to get to know one another.

The Fall Harvest Tour is targeted towards the general public and showcases basin agriculture. It gives participants a glimpse of the important relationship between agriculture and local businesses. Our past tours have been well attended and are quite popular with community leaders, businesses, local FFA groups, state and federal agency personnel, and elected officials.

This tour provides first-hand exposure to a variety of activities and processes related to irrigated agriculture, including the history and mechanics of Klamath Project infrastructure, issues related to the basin’s water quality and quantity, the relationship between agriculture and wildlife, and the production and harvesting of crops such as beef cattle, wheat, mint, horseradish, alfalfa, strawberry rootstock, and much more.

The tour is at no cost to participants.

Follow us on TWITTER @klamathwater

There are still sponsorship opportunities available for this valuable opportunity that gives the community a first-hand look at the impact agriculture has on our local and regional economy. If you are interested in joining us on this tour in either late September or early October, please watch our website www.kwua.org for more information on dates and tour stops or call Chelsea Shearer at (541) 883-6100.

See the Basin’s story through the submissions at the Tulelake Butte Valley Fair Sept 8-11

A photography project aimed at sharing the realities of farming and ranching families is coming to the Klamath Basin.

The project is called photovoice – a process where a group works to identify and share their stories through images accessible to consumers, policymakers, researchers, and the general public.

Photovoice has been used to show the effects of flooding on family farms in North Carolina, agricultural development in Rwanda, the experiences of urban farmers in Pennsylvania, and the impact of landslides on homesteads in West Virginia. And starting this spring, photovoice will be used to share the strengths and struggles of agriculture families in the Klamath Basin.

The Ag in the Basin Photovoice Project is coordinated by Hannah Whitley, a graduate student from Douglas County, Oregon, who moved to Klamath Falls in September 2021. Hannah received research funds from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the College of Agricultural Science at Penn State University.

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