Put Blame in right place
Herald and News letter by Ed Baley,
Tulelake Irrigation District board of directors
blame in right place
In response to J. A. Gonzales and other individuals
within the Basin who have had well problems:
Blame has been placed on Tulelake Irrigation
District for causing well problems. Since the water
cutoff in 2001, many individuals within the Klamath
Reclamation Project in both Oregon and California
have also drilled wells.
While pumping may have an impact on the ground
aquifer, there are other factors to consider. For
example, reduced surface irrigation due to idling of
lands for the water bank and the extremely dry
watershed could also contribute to the problem. But
the truth is, Tulelake Irrigation District is
running wells not for the benefit of farmers, but
for additional water for salmon.
Let's place the blame where it belongs: the
Endangered Species Act.
If you have any doubts about this act, ask any
logger, rancher, farmer, fisherman or many others
what its impacts are. It sounds like a wonderful
idea to most people - until their lives are directly
affected by it.
The act has placed an extreme amount of power in the
hands of a few that, in most cases, impacts
Everyday the fingers of the act reach out and impact
the lives of more and more individuals and, in this
case, it is the individual homeowner's wells.
Until 2001, the Klamath Reclamation Project had no
need for wells. Irrigation water came from Upper
Klamath Lake. The full power of the act was felt
with the shutting off of water to farms that had
used this water for 100 years.
The act dictated that endangered species had more
rights to the water than the people of the Klamath
Basin, regardless of government contracts or
historical use or common sense. Farmers and the
Tulelake Irrigation District drilled wells to help
protect landowners from the disaster of 2001.
The power of this act is then used (decided by a
very few) to tap this new resource of groundwater to
protect the endangered suckers and salmon -
Hallelujah. They now had a supplemental source of
water for the fish.
The big plan on the table now is the water bank.
Somewhere, somehow, the fish need "x" number of
acre-feet of water more than is available, so
agriculture will provide it. How? Land idling and
We can accept the plan or not.
Either way, we're not getting the water the
powers-that-be, armed with the Endangered Species
Act, have determined the fish need. So 31 wells in
Oregon and 10 wells operated by the Tulelake
Irrigation District are being pumped, the land is
being idled, the fish are getting the water and your
well is going dry.
How do you fix this problem? Contact your
representatives or senators to amend the Endangered
Species Act to protect your rights as an individual.
Put the blame where it belongs.