Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
POSTED: May 24, 2001 (Written in 2001 when the federal government denied irrigation water to 1400 family farms, water deeded to the irrigators, and water stored by those irrigators)
This week’s inspirational message is by Brad Frey. Brad is 18 years old, a Tulelake High School graduate, and student at Washington State University, with an architect major. He is the son of Tom and Cheri Frey, and grew up on a farm in the Tulelake Basin.
"It seems lately that everyone in the Basin has been hit with one blow after another. Bills are mounting, money is dwindling, and water is as scarce as hope. With all that is happening in the basin, what are we to do? The government seems to be putting us on the back burner, while they mount the sucker on a golden pedestal. At this point there really seems to be no hope as our fields blow away, ditches remain empty, and lawns begin to turn a lovely shade of brown.
I remember coming home from college a few weeks ago, not knowing what to expect. The news of no water was absolutely devastating. Thoughts of dirt fields stretching as far as the eye could see kept coming to mind. Needless to say, as I approached Klamath Lake and saw it overflowing with water, my anger and frustration boiled inside of me, while my hate toward the government and sucker skyrocketed. A greedy government was taunting the basin with a lake full of water and yet not a single person could touch it. As the days went on, it seemed like one helpless predicament after the other. Sell, or hold out? Government relief, or another year of debt? Wells, or no wells? Nothing made sense. Governors and Senate members making fancy speeches promising change and hope, but there is still nothing. How can we sit by and let this happen? What can we do?
Personally…I feel we can no longer do anything. This whole situation is out of our hands. We have had our bucket brigades, city meetings, made our speeches, and pleaded with the government. We have thought of solutions and ideas, possible ways to continue farming only to have the government halt our actions. It seems as if the government is in complete control and we have to go along for the ride, or hop off the wagon. I, however, believe there is someone else in control. God is the maker of all things and holds each one of us in the palm of his hand. He knows our troubles and hardships; our frustration and tears. There is no hope in the Government, the suckerfish, or even our water, but there is hope in God. Paul writes…rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts. Romans 5:3-5. When there seems to be no hope left, that is when God’s presence is the strongest. He wants each one of us to cling to him instead of this basin. Let go of the fish, the worry, the water, the anger, the battles with the ESA. What good will come if all we do is cling to this world and establish a false hope within ourselves? If we only rely on ourselves to bring about change by going into battle, then our hope will be blown away like our fields. We should cling to God and allow him to direct our paths.
God has blessed us with some amazing leaders throughout this basin. Hundreds have stood up to the government in hopes of change. We should continue to do so, but allow God to take a leadership role as well. We need to take God off the back burner and allow him to establish himself in the heat of the battle. Our hope shouldn’t be in the leaders themselves, but in God directing the leaders to make the right decisions. I think that most of us could say that we have not had a good night’s sleep since April 6th. Last summer, someone told me that God will break us, so he can bless us. I truly believe that!! God can take this horrible situation and bring about blessing after blessing if we look to him, instead of this world, for our hope. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ) God does not only want to be a part of the leadership, but he wants to establish himself in each of our lives. Fix your eyes on God so he can renew your spirit with peace, hope, and faith. He loves each of us and hates to see us in so much pain and despair. We need to stop focusing on the bad and set our eyes to the positive things, so we can hear God’s directions for each of us individually. Granted we don’t have water, but we have friends, family, and the ability to put food on our tables. We still have green fields, our communities, and a hope that God is working everything out for our benefit. There is still hope for our basin. That hope is God.
I pray that you would cling to God during this oppressing time. My favorite verse says…”I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) You are being taken care of right now, because God has a plan for you! He will not allow harm to overcome you, but will establish a hope and a future within you if you only allow him to. Focus on the things of God and allow him to direct your decisions. God will not disappoint us if our desire is to seek his will. Allow him to take your problems and establish a New Hope. God is good!! May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!! (Romans 15:13)"
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