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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Power Rates Needed for Klamath Project Survival

For more info go here > Klamath River Compact spelled out how water in river was to be used   and HERE for irrigators' need of affordable power rates

by KBC 11/14/06  

Klamath irrigators built and paid in full for the construction of the Klamath Reclamation Project for water storage and delivery. Klamath Basin was previously a huge deep lake in a closed basin. It was not all wetlands.

That means, where we farm was historically under 10-30' of navigable water which, in most areas, had no way to reach the Klamath River until we built a diversion tunnel to send water FROM the farms and INTO the river.

The Klamath Compact created by Congress made the stipulation that when the Power Company was given regulated free water from the Basin to make cheap power, the irrigators would receive a low power rate. Our investment in the Project was acknowledged for it's necessity to create clean, inexpensive hydropower. Without the Project there would be no free regulated water.

A 1400% power increase being demanded by PacifiCorp will end farming in the basin as we know it. PacifiCorp has pitted community against community, convincing others, including our own Siskiyou County, that we greedy irrigators have been receiving a subsidy and don't deserve an affordable rate. They have convinced the Public Utilities Commission that, despite the fact that we provided free, regulated power, pumping it into the river at our own expense, the Project has no value for their power. Nothing has changed, except the spirit of cooperation between Pacificorp and the communities that allowed our communities to survive.

We have provided water for the cheapest power, hydropower, in the country for our neighboring ratepayers, however PacifiCorp feels we have no value anymore and our contribution is worthless.

Our expenses exceed other projects and irrigators' since we must pump the water extensively to deliver it and to pump it into the wildlife refuges and into the Klamath River, where it mostly never reached before. Our annual cost of thousands of dollars annually will be more than a million dollars to pump water INTO the refuges and river from our farms.

 Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen and environmentalists state they want us to be put out of business so more of our water (from this previously closed basin) will artificially elevate flows, and our farmland will be barren: no crops or wildlife.

FERC has demanded secrecy in the negotiations with KWUA and Tribes and enviros so the constituencies of the communities do not know exactly what is being negotiated.  

Please put in a good word for the Klamath irrigators to receive an affordable power rate as a stipulation to dam relicensing.

I believe 99 percent of the irrigators want to see the dams remain, which produce clean, inexpensive hydropower for 70,000 customers/year. There is no science saying that dam removal will provide better water quality. Dr. Lewis from the National Research Council said nothing will ever fix the quality of Klamath Lake water which has always been bad. Our community wants to see neighboring communities survive as well as their own. We have brothers that are miners, fishermen, and Indians.

Oregon Coastal Fishermen have solutions of DNA testing, hatchery management, and have stated that dam removal is a political fix, not a scientific solution to more fish.

KBC asks for affordable power rates for the irrigators, fish passage (trucking fish around dams does not sound "natural" but it works well in many places), hatcherys and fisheries and salmon DNA testing managed BY the fishermen (which will provide fish for tribes too), and dams for inexpensive hydropower for 70,000 ratepayers (with free regulated water provided by the Klamath Reclamation Project).

We are real people, real communities, and friends of power and miners and farmers and fishermen and Indians and people whose lives and economies would be destroyed by dam removal. And please consider stipulating a power rate that would allow us to remain farming.

God and FERC, hear our prayers!

KBC - Klamath Basin irrigator

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