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Tulelake Irrigation District had public meeting on groundwater management plan

8/29/11 at Tulelake firehall 9 a.m.

Today was the first TID groundwater management plan meeting where the TID board presented to the public its intension to create a groundwater management plan for the entire district. Notice was in the legal pages of the Herald and News.

Attending were board members John Crawford president, Gary Wright and Jim Havlina. TID bookkeeper Grace Phillips, manager Earl Donosky, and assistant managers Jerry Pyle and Brad Kirby also attended. Others were Modoc supervisor Geri Byrne, Modoc County employee Sean Curtis, and Modoc Environmental Health Dept. Warren Farnum, rancher and farmer Joe Hemphill, and farmer Jacqui Krizo.

Siskiyou County Supervisor Jim Cook recently met with TID board several times and told TID that if they do not create a groundwater management plan, then Siskiyou County or the state of California will make a plan for them. Cook encouraged TID to create this plan. 

The board said this management plan was not because of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement / KBRA. Krizo said that the KBRA, which the board voted to support, mandates we have a groundwater management plan; it is part of the KBRA On Project Plan. She brought up that the board has already hired MBK engineering and Dan Keppen for their groundwater plan, and the KBRA states that the wells can have no adverse impact.  An argument followed with Crawford and Wright both yelling at Krizo.

Keppen was employed by the Bureau of Reclamation before coming to Klamath Falls in 2002 to work as executive director of Klamath Water Users Association. He presently is director of Family Farm Alliance, and engineer and media chairman for KWAPA, Klamath Water and Power Agency, a group included in the KBRA.

Farnum felt that Siskiyou was using the "fear factor" threatening that the county would make a plan for us. He advised that DWR/Dept. of Water Resources would dump Water Quality onto the entities (TID) creating the management plan. He said, "It will be a cold day in hell before they meter my well."

Joe Hemphill expressed concern about all the mandates that could go with a management plan, and board member Wright, who is also president of KWUA / Klamath Water Users Association, began yelling at him and pointing his finger.

Farnum said that some entities could later sue by looking at the water data and management plan and accusing TID of overdrafting.

Farnum advised that TID look at the caveats in the plan, what they want, and what are the mandates, and suggested there would be pumping fees. Kirby said there would not be fees.

Curtis said TID would have to pay for our monitoring chessboard, plus water quality mandates. He said with this plan, according to water code, TID can regulate ag wells.

Hemphill said if the state is broke and California is not responsible, if we go down this road we'd have to pay fees.

Wright again yelled at Hemphill for his input, and at times he and Crawford shouted at Farnum.

Farnum said if TID becomes the groundwater management entity, they'd be at the will of what DWR wants them to do. They would hold water grants and loans over our head.

Kirby said TID is just doing this to manage the resource.

TID is mandated to have another public meeting to share their management plan. Then each TID water users may vote on whether or not to support their plan. They need 50% vote to pass it.

TID would not allow the water users to vote on the KBRA because they didn't have to. When Tulelake voted in last fall's election, 77% opposed the KBRA Klamath Hydroelectric dam removal "agreement," yet TID continues to support it and pay for it.








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