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Klamath Irrigation District holds off on water delivery

Klamath Irrigation District is holding off on delivering water as the district announced Friday that it would do so on Monday.

KID’s watermaster Tyler Martin said on Tuesday the district had hoped to obtain alternative sources of water to be able to begin delivery for patrons this week. But following discussions with the Bureau of Reclamation, KID’s attorney Nathan Rietmann, KID’s management and the board of directors, as well as other districts, the district decided to hold off.

Martin said it’s not so much that it wouldn’t work to start water delivery, but that the district wanted to give a little more thought to the decision and work more with other districts to formulate a plan that works for the Bureau of Reclamation and other districts.

“We thought we’d identified a chunk of water and as a part of an adaptive management strategy, we decided not to use that water for right now,” Martin said on Tuesday. “We still may, but, right now we’re working really collaboratively with other stakeholders to determine the best course of action.”

Martin said the court-ordered flushing flows by U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick that the Bureau is required to meet, is another reason the district did not start water delivery.

“They (Bureau of Reclamation) have said that they need to meet the dilution flows from the lake, and we would contend that there’s other sources of water to … at least help with that flow,” Martin said.

“Also, lake level thresholds, at the end of the month, we definitely have to keep in mind,” Martin added. “There’s a natural drought as well, right, so there’s less water available this year … than in an average year.”

Scott Cheyne, assistant manager of KID, said ditch-riders and KID’s management team have been keeping irrigators up to date that water deliveries have not started as planned. KID officials said while water delivery is at a standstill, ditch-riders continue to charge and maintain canals and are tracking groundwater conveyance.

“They’re getting as ready as they can be for water delivery so when we decide to go, they can deliver water as quickly as possible,” Martin said.

“We’re continuing discussions with the Bureau, the other districts, the water users, and our hope is to identify a date that we can start delivering water as soon as possible.”

The district has already started charging canals with a portion of 10,500 acre feet of water borrowed from PacifiCorp’s reservoirs, which also includes an amount that leaked into the A canal during a change-over of KID’s software at the A canal headgates.

“Of course that’s unfortunate,” Martin said. “We wish that we could have planned that a little bit better. “Since it was already in the canal, we put it to good use by charging and flushing with that water, so it wasn’t a total loss.”

Martin said while on-Project irrigators are waiting on water, they some can buy, sell or transfer the usage of a groundwater right.

“That’s a process that takes place with the Oregon Water Resources Department,” he said.

“Groundwater users would need to use district facilities to be able to convey that water. We need to be looped in as well but that’s definitely a possibility.”

Martin said irrigators should not hesitate in calling KID’s office with any questions or concerns, including about how to sell or buy groundwater.

“Just keep in touch,” Martin said. “I’ll be in touch with news outlets to try to get the word out if something changes.”



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              Page Updated: Saturday May 12, 2018 12:37 PM  Pacific

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