Water adjudication: Wogan hears exceptions to
by Holly Dillemuth June 9, 2017
Attendees gathered in the gallery of Klamath County Circuit
Court Wednesday and Thursday for public hearings involving
the recent adjudication of “Waters of the Klamath River
Basin,” to hear oral arguments and identify how to move the
adjudication, which included more than 730 claims to water
rights initially, involves the determination of surface
water rights by the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD)
related to the Water Rights Code in 1909, according to court
issued its final adjudication order for the Basin on March
7, 2013. It was the last region in the state to come under
the circuit court takes over to hear appeals. There are more
than 5,600 objections or “contests” filed in response to
teams representing a multitude of parties, including
irrigators and the Klamath Tribes, gave oral arguments
before Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Cameron Wogan.
like an appeal,” local water attorney Bill Ganong said.
“It’s saying, ‘We disagree with this finding, and here’s
not looking at any individual claim or the facts of any
claim, it’s looking at what’s the process or procedure going
to be in circuit court and what the rules are going apply,”
said Ganong, who is also working on the cases.
is now tasked with resolving exceptions filed in response to
rule as quickly as I can,” Wogan said before adjourning the
last hearing on Thursday morning.
sees the possibility that a ruling by Judge Wogan could mean
the consideration of a new trial held at the circuit court
level, though nothing will be determined outside Wogan’s
position is, there should not be a new trial,” Ganong said.
“We’ve already been through an extensive hearing process.”
see the possibility as that of determining whether some new
evidence related to adjudication would be allowed in circuit
court or whether to defer to the administrative ruling,
according to attorney Dominic Carollo.
talking more about process and laying a foundation to move
forward in adjudication,” said Don Gentry, Klamath Tribes
chairman, who is represented in the case by the United
States. “At issue is what’s the role of circuit court here.
went through the state phase and brought in evidence to
support our claims,” Gentry said, which involve maintaining
rights to water in-stream.
“There’s just a difference of perspective on what this court
is to do from this point forwards.”
hopes that the court not allow more evidence to come forward
than has already been filed.
concerned about going back over the same ground that we went
through before,” Gentry said. “We all invested a lot into
the process in the administrative phase, and I feel there’s
opportunity for the judge to basically review contests or
Overall, ensuring one’s right to water is a goal of those
with a stake in the case, according to Ganong.
about a finite resource,” Ganong said. “There’s only so much
water, and both the pre-1909 claims and the post-1909 water
rights that exist far exceed the amount of water that’s
there. And so at the end of the day ... If all the claims
were approved, there would be many times when some of the
claims, some of the water right holders would never get
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