Graphic Source: Oregon Live

Graphic Source: Oregon Live

Brandan Topham

Klamath Basin Crisis

This is shaping up to be a very bad year for our county. The State recently told us that they are going to shut off all of the surface water above Klamath Lake again this year. Considering how dry it has been this winter that is understandable. What most people do not know is that Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has decided that it will also shut off most of the wells above Klamath Lake.

How did they come to that decision? OWRD looked at well logs from two wells in our valley and 30 wells from other parts of the state and Northern California. With that information they then constructed a computer model to show how the water works in our valley.  Their model claims that all wells that are within 1 mile of Klamath Lake, Agency Lake, or within 1 mile of perennial gaining reaches of streams tributary to Upper Klamath Lake are causing problems and must be shut off. *Note that if a well is 1 foot over a mile it is ok. If a well is 10 feet less they will shut it off.  Dad has a degree in geology, has been studying geology in our area for over 40 years, has talked with every geologist who has studied in the area during that time, as well as writing geologic reports for wells in the valley.  Dad is very frustrated with the OWRD’s model because it has no basis in reality or science.

Yet, because of this computer model done by people who had never visited our valley until recently, OWRD is planning on shutting off most of the wells above Klamath lake, without even studying the wells. While most of the wells that are getting turned off are owned by ranchers, they also listed the well that supplies the town of Bly, two wells for the City of Klamath Falls, most of the wells at the Running Y Resort, two wells for OIT, and miscellaneous other wells in and near Klamath that may be turned off. It is also interesting that the wells for the City of Chiloquin [Barb’s note: Chiloquin is the center of tribal government, and located on both the Williamson and Sprague Rivers] will be left alone. I have attached the list, if a well has a check in eitherof the far right columns the state is currently planning on shutting it off. *I do not know how that works with drinking water for people*

Because of this mess, Senator Doug Whitsett and Representative Gail Whitsett have been trying to get a bill passed that would require OWRD to study and prove that there is a problem with a well before they shut it off. Last week Mom, Dad, and Erika, among many others went to Salem to speak in support of this bill. We just got word that the bill had been killed a few days ago and that we should expect the OWRD to start red tagging our wells on April 1st. READ MORE…

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13 Responses to “ORD to shut off surface and ground water to Upper Klamath ranches and farms”

  1. Tina says:

    Barb, I noticed on my post to you about the Western Montana Water Rights blog, that the WMWR name did not appear in the body of the text.

    I’ve been having trouble trying to get info to and fro between you two.

    I feel almost like someone is interfering with my e-mails, I have never had this happen before.

    Oh well.

    Whatever, I’ll keep trying.

  2. Tina says:

    Two more thoughts in my head, sort of related:

    You need to go back out there, and turn the water back on, and then guard it. Yes, I know the ramifications.

    There is such a thing as ‘dry farming’ (now don’t make a joke). You use very little water, and harvest less, but it’s doable. Google it.

    Down here in So. Calif. where it’s really dry, we use ‘ollas’: earthenware pots with porous skin; you bury them strategically around the garden, and they seep out, watering your plants. It is said that this is the MOST water-efficient way of watering plants.

    Also: any ol’ coffee can with holes punched in the sides will do as well. It can last for a few days that way, saving you a ton of water.

    Also: look up on See if you have a nearby spring in your area, you can collect water from that.

    I’m just trying to come up with ideas.

    Obviously winning the battle would be best, but maybe the above ideas and other stuff can allow to stay on your land.

    I’ll die laughing at those jerks, if they fail to drive you off.

    Anything I can do to help, Barb.

  3. Tina says:

    Barb, two things:

    Can we organize a boycott of the products of those big ranchers? Any way to single them out?


    You know Mother Earth News? I’ve subscribed to the paper copy for decades.

    I finally e-mailed them on Ag 21 and all they did was e-mail back thank you.

    It seems to me THAT THEY WOULD BE ALL OVER AG 21 in their mag, but they’re NOT.

    Now why is that?

  4. Tina says:


    I follow the Western Montana Water Rights blog. They are going through the same trouble you are up there.

    I contacted the ‘contact’ section of the blog, and sent him/her the name of your blog, and your first name.

    I told ’em you have something in common, and that you both should swap notes.

    I have read a great deal of this blog, and they are in our anti-agenda 21 corner.

    I don’t have a name though.

    My interest in this is that I am going to move to MT soon, but am still packing and have to sell the house.

    In both of your areas, they are using the Tribes to get what they want.

    Also: believe this or not, the Tea Party is VERY hip to Ag 21, and is fighting it.

    DON’T be afraid to avail yourself of their knowledge

    Rosa’s group is called Democrats Against Ag 21. Look that site up as well- VERY INFORMATIVE.

  5. Elsa Canelon Karg (@CanelonDeMiel) says:

    Have some compassion…!! Why do this to animals and farmers..??
    No living creature should be deprived of water, NO ONE..!!
    Please resolve this asap and find a way to allow life to continue, water included.
    Thank you.

  6. Silence is the game, cooperation is the ticket. A plan was developed that would solve our water problems. This would require dredging. Silt has built up and the water level is not what it used to be. Dredging would solve the problem without removing any dams, but that is not the agenda. The agenda is to re-wild the land as per Agenda 21. The larger ranchers out here appear to not really care about anything but their own pocket books, so there must be some really good incentives for them to go along with this.

  7. Tina says:

    When you say “the ones who cooperate, seem to be immune”, you mean cooperate in giving up their land?

    or allow the other ones to be screwed w/o the cooperator’s saying anything?

  8. P.S. Read through this little gem to get to the real agenda:

  9. When this mess started in 2001, the die was cast. The tribe is working with the U.N. and the Federal government. In 2001 we had bucket brigades, protests, people at the dams opening them back up, and then the backroom deals began. They have hammered out an agreement, with the tribe having senior water rights, and the feds subsidizing some ranchers, while others are getting all the water they need. The smaller guys are SOL, and the ones who cooperate seem to be immune. This is a very small community, and one particular rancher is boss hog. Here is the agreement: http://www.klamathbasincrisis......Agrmnt.pdf. When there is not enough water, the tribe gets it first for the fish. The end goal is for the Federal Government to put the land that was once the reservation back into a trusteeship for the tribe again. This means acquiring our properties. No water, dry land, prices drop, pennies on the dollar.

  10. Tina says:

    Could neighboring Patriot ranchers, farmers have demonstrations in front of these sell-outs’ homes?

    Harrassment works two ways?

    Have you explained Ag 21 to those hesitant rancher/farmers, and what is at stake?

    Barb, I’m in So. Calif, maybe I’m ‘safe’ down here; is there any one you want me to call to ‘encourage’ them to do the right thing?

  11. Sherrie Scallan says:

    this is very disturbing news. what is going on with this country, does money matter more than people? we need these farmers all over the United States and rely on them.

  12. The mentality out here is dictated by certain ranchers that are cooperating fully with the takeover because they have a stake in the final outcome. Others are just trying to get by as best they can, and the Sheriff could care less. Getting anyone to actually come together and stand up for anything is all but impossible.

  13. Tina says:


    Are the Sheriffs on your side? Honestly, why don’t you get a huge group of farmers and physically stop them?

    Where will it end? You already KNOW what they really want.

    After that, your next step is an armed posse. Your militia?

    I bet you’re thinking I’m crazy. But how much are you going to take?

    Remember, when they run YOU off the land, they will be BOLD and run everyone else off, knowing they can do it.

    Have you checked with Rosie Koire? She’s an Eminent Domain lawyer, out of San Francisco, who helps in Agenda 21 matters (which is what your problem is).

    She wrote a book on it