KBC NOTE: Tom Mallams told KBC News he
has not been interviewed by Herald and News or Capital Press
regarding this matter within the past two years.
Local rancher, Tom Mallams, challenging well
Herald and News 7/19/17
Former Klamath County Commissioner Tom
— An Oregon rancher is challenging the state government’s
method of determining when groundwater well pumping must be
shut down to avoid disrupting surface water rights.
Capital Press reports that Tom Mallams of Klamath County
says the Oregon Water Resources Department has ordered him
to stop pumping from a well near Snake Creek, a tributary of
the Sycan River, based on an erroneous mathematical model.
Mallams says the well was drilled into a confined aquifer
that’s not connected to the creek or the river, so pumping
restrictions won’t have any effect on surface water flows,.
Mallams has petitioned Marion County Circuit Court Judge
Thomas Hart to overturn OWRD’s order because it’s “not
supported by substantial evidence” as required by Oregon
agency has derived its conclusions from “general studies of
the Klamath Basin” without collecting any data specific to
Mallams’ well, according to the petition for review.
Mallams claims OWRD should have instead relied on a well
driller’s report submitted to the agency, which found the
well is hydraulically separate from surface waters.
representative of OWRD said the agency is reviewing the
legal challenge with attorneys from the Oregon Department of
Justice and can’t comment on the litigation at this time.
Mallams’ lawsuit is not the first time that OWRD’s method of
gauging groundwater pumping impacts on surface water has
2014, lawmakers proposed several bills requiring the agency
to prove that individual wells were affecting surface flows
before taking enforcement action.
proposals were divisive in the agricultural community, with
some irrigators arguing they’d disrupt Oregon water law
while others claimed they’d protect water rights.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
section 107, any copyrighted material
herein is distributed without profit or
payment to those who have expressed a
prior interest in receiving this
information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only. For more
information go to: