Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

An open letter to the on-project water users from an off-project irrigator.

1/19/08 Letter regarding Klamath Water Settlement Agreement from Bruce Topham

Where are you in our time of need? In 2001 when you suffered a government inflicted water crisis, we marched with you though we were not affected. We passed buckets hand to hand down main street with you. We carried your signs. We wrote letters on your behalf and contacted by phone state and federal representatives. We were proud to stand by your side and together we prevailed.

Two years later, when our water rights were being adjudicated, the Klamath Tribe and 24 on-project water districts hired lawyers and contested every stakeholder's water rights claim in the Sprague River valley. In our case, it took two years and $9000 in lawyer's fees to secure our legitimate water right.

A couple of years ago, when power rates were set to take a massive jump, the off-project water users, at great expense to themselves and no help from the project, hired Portland attorneys and with the help of Senator Whitset, Water for Life, and others both in government and out got the so-called "Shock law" approved that phases in high power rates over a seven year period. This benefit was shared by on-project water users to the tune of many, many millions of dollars at no expense to themselves. A gift as it were from those of us in the off-project.

We have asked for nothing from the project in return.

Now we are facing our crisis. The backroom sweetheart deal offered the project by the Klamath Tribe will effectively confiscate all of the surface water on off-project lands. Ranches in existence for up to 100 years will be left high and dry and broke.

Your actions will seal our fate. How will you respond?

Bruce Topham

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