Upper Basin ranchers get reprieve to water
O'Brien, Herald and News 3/15/18
Ranchers in the
Upper Basin of Klamath County — and the town of Chiloquin —
received an emergency exemption from the call on water
Friday allowing them to use water for their stock cattle and
for human consumption.
is for 180 days, or six months. It affects ranchers who use
water along the Sprague, Sycan and Williamson rivers. It
does not give the ranchers the right to use water for
irrigation or for flooding fields. The last time the
emergency decree was used was in the summer of 2015. Then,
43 individual landholders applied for the exemption.
ranchers along the Wood River, opted out of applying for the
Nicholson, president of the Fort Klamath Critical Habitat
Landowners, told the commission, “There have been many stock
water wells drilled and equipped with pipelines and water
troughs, in addition to having managed frontage for access
to the streams in the Wood River Basin.”
The Wood River
Valley incorporates the Wood, Crooked Creek, Fort Creek, Sun
Creek and Annie Creek.
precipitation in the Basin at 80 percent so far this year,
and snowpack at only 45 percent, the need for the exemption
was obvious to the staff and the state Water Resources
Commission. The Commission voted unanimously for the
emergency exemption after a three-hour telephone conference.
About 17 ranchers and officials listened in on the call at
the Klamath County Government Center Friday.
The call on the
water is in effect in the Sprague River and its tributaries
due to the low water flows. The Klamath Tribes has the first
rights to the water, which it uses to protect endangered
short-nosed sucker and Lost River sucker. It was noted that
any emergency allocation for stock water will reduce the
water that is available to the senior water right holder,
i.e. the Tribes. (The
Tribes issued a response to the temporary rule; see it in
Since Jan. 1,
2013, landowners in Klamath County have drilled 132 wells
for stock watering, making them more resistant to drought
and the calls on the surface water.
National Park, also installed a new well for human
consumption, as it had fallen under the call. Last year, the
park had to haul water by truck for park visitors.
purchased a parcel of land to install a new municipal well
that will not be subject to regulation as well. It should be
operational by the end of the year.
decree calls for 45 gallons of water, per minute, per 1,000
head of cattle to be diverted from the rivers or 65 gallons
per day per single head of cattle.
Details of the temporary
rule is on the H&N website with this story as is a response
by the Klamath Tribes.
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: