irrigators: KWUA announces Project delivery
and News 4/11/19 by Holly Dillemuth
Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office will deliver at
least 322,000 acre feet of water — or a 92% allocation —
rather than a full 350,000 from Upper Klamath Lake to the
Klamath Project this summer and fall.
number was announced Monday evening by Jeff Nettleton,
manager of the Klamath Basin Area Office, at the Klamath
Water Users Association’s annual meeting.
“In addition to
that 322,000 acre feet out of Upper Klamath Lake, we will
have what we estimate to be somewhere in the neighborhood of
90,000 acre feet available on the Lost River there in the
Klamath Straights Drain,” Nettleton told water users
gathered at Reames Golf and Country Club in Klamath Falls.
“Again that’s based on estimates based off the 36-year
period of record that we have. Hopefully the combination of
those two things will add up to a good year for the Klamath
Project .... With the new ‘BiOp’ (biological opinion) in
place, we were able to start Project operations (April 2).”
updated water users on the state of precipitation to date —
104% — and snow pack — 126% of normal.
“We heard you
loud and clear that it’s pretty important to get a new BiOp
in place by April 1,” Nettleton said, noting Reclamation
officials and Fish and Wildlife officials worked hard to
complete the two 2019 biological opinions.
“I know we
don’t always see eye to eye but, sometimes it’s kind of like
threading a needle on these things,” Nettleton added. “Then
there’s other days where it’s like being wrapped in bacon
and thrown in an alligator pit. It’s a challenge. We
understand that you’re not completely happy with the BiOp.
We’re working toward changes that will afford the Project a
good supply ... we may be looking at some changes sooner
rather than later.”
said Reclamation’s goal is to build relationships and
continue talking and working on longterm solutions for the
Users Association plans to file a lawsuit against BOR soon
regarding limitations to water supply in the two biological
opinions released earlier this month.
counsel for KWUA Paul Simmons, who was selected as executive
director of the association, will serve in a significant
role in the case once filed. The case is separate from one
filed by Klamath Irrigation District against BOR last week.
one of his first goals is to try to return the Klamath
Project to a stable and reliable water supply.
unpredictable everywhere,” Simmons said.
was unpredictable back when water supplies were sufficient
for full deliveries. So it’s primarily a matter of managing
the ESA (Endangered Species Act). For that just like
everywhere else, you work on that on legal and technical and
policy fronts and try to find opportunities on all of those
as interim executive director for four months following the
resignation of former director Scott White prior to being
selected by the board of directors.
not a typical career move for somebody like me, I have
learned a lot over the years about the situation and I feel
like I’ve got something to offer,” Simmons said. “I just
really don’t want to waste that. I’m going to use it to the
best of the people here.”
Simmons said he
will continue to work for his law firm, Somach Simmons and
Dunn, and as legal counsel for KWUA.
meeting’s featured speakers also included Ernest Conant, BOR
mid-pacific regional director; newly elected KWUA President
Tricia Hill, and recorded messages from the Congressional
delegation: Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Greg