Critical Klamath Project Relief Legislation Advances

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House of Representatives Passes America’s Water and Infrastructure Act of 2018 with Key Klamath Provisions Included

Washington, DC – Last Thursday, the United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass America’s Water and Infrastructure Act (AWIA) which included provisions that are vital to Klamath Project water users.

“These provisions are a major step forward that will immediately aid both water users and the Bureau of Reclamation in managing water more effectively and efficiently, given the number of constraints we currently face.” said Marc Staunton, a KWUA board member and farmer near Tulelake, California, and was in Washington DC meeting with law makers and agency officials when the bill (S. 3021) passed.

The provisions included in AWIA to enable the Project to meet the essential needs of water users would:

  1. Allow Reclamation to plan, implement, and administer programs to align water supplies and demand for irrigation water users associated with the Klamath Project, with a preference for programs developed or supported by Project water users. This will greatly assist in avoiding and minimizing any effects on water users of insufficient Project supply.

  2. Provide any entity operating within the Klamath Project that uses Klamath Project water, may use, without any additional Federal contract, permit, or other authorization, and Klamath Project works or facility to convey non-Klamath Project water for any authorized purpose of the Klamath Project

  3. Direct the Secretary of Interior, in consultation with Project water users, to present a report that identifies the power cost paid by water users in other projects and recommends actions that are necessary and appropriate to ensure that Project water users’ cost is equal to or less than those other projects.

Scott White, Executive Director of KWUA, who was also in Washington with Mr. Staunton, praised the level of commitment by legislators -- especially the Oregon delegation -- to ensure the Klamath provisions were included in the AWIA: “Congressman Walden, as well as Senators Merkley and Wyden, along with their staffs were instrumental in getting this language included and passed. It wouldn’t have happened without our Delegation’s strong desire to solve problems in this basin,” White said.

White also acknowledged the support and assistance of the California delegation, including Rep. Doug LaMalfa, and the Leadership and staff of House and Senate committees. “We are so grateful to all involved.”

The Senate is expected to take up the measure in the coming weeks.

Press release provided from the Klamath Water Users Association.