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Letter to the editor of KBC
6/30/04 followed by response by a Klamath Basin irrigation district manager:

I would just like to say, after seeing what I saw this morning traveling south on HWY 97 I have to wonder why everybody is complaining about drought and lack of water. I am a former Oregonian, (now living in Reno NV), and also drive long haul truck. This morning I saw several farmers along HWY 97 irrigating their fields. I think this was quite unnecessary after last nights rainfall. Yes I spent the night in K. Falls at Mollies, and saw the storm that came through. When there is already standing water in the field, irrigation is just plain wasteful. I am very well educated in the matter of evaporation, in Reno it's at a greater rate than K. Falls. I think if you crack down on the farmers wasting water, you will find conditions are not quite as bad as you think.

Very disappointed in the farmers of OR,
Chris Way
 

    Response by a Klamath Basin irrigation district manager

Reacting to a storm takes some time. Farmers started calling in early on Tuesday, many ordering water off. They know they can't just shut off. Without a place for the water to go after it is shut off, canals would overflow or break. We have to reduce the flows at the diversion point, the A Canal at Klamath Lake, then make adjustments throughout the canal and lateral system. Turning off completely is also not always the best course of action. Rainfall like the other night is not very uniform, so some irrigation has to continue to effectively irrigate entire fields. Usually the time required to complete irrigation is reduced however. Excess water from the rain or irrigation is recaptured in the Klamath Project drain system, so the water is not being wasted. I think our reduced demand over the next week or so will reflect the farmers conservative use of water.
 

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