Senate Passes America’s Water and Infrastructure Act of 2018 with Key Klamath Provisions Included
Klamath Falls, OR – Today [10/10/18], the United States Senate voted 99-1 to pass the America’s Water and Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA), which includes provisions that are vital to Klamath Project water users. The bill (S. 3021) passed in the House of Representatives by unanimous vote on September 13th and now will be sent to the President for his signature.
The AWIA’s Klamath provisions (Section 4308) authorize $10 million annually to deploy programs that address water shortages for agriculture producers in the area. The Act also requires the Bureau of Reclamation to prepare a plan to bring irrigation power costs in the Basin in line with other areas of the Pacific Northwest, recognizing that Basin irrigators have witnessed a rise in power costs upwards of 2000% and a decline in crop production efficiencies as a result of higher power rates. Finally, the AWIA would ensure that Klamath Project canals can be used to convey groundwater and other non-Project water to keep farmers in business without unnecessary delays and red tape.
“We’ve been pushing for a ‘fix’ to these issues for a long time,” said Luther Horsley, Board Member at KWUA and farmer near Midland, Oregon. “This is a good start and will really benefit growers who are struggling to navigate through these tough times, and help us continue our efficient water management and use.”
Scott White, Executive Director of KWUA, agreed with Horsley’s sentiment and highlighted the work of so many who share a desire to solve these long-standing issues in the Basin. “Our Congressional delegation has shown great leadership in standing behind the family farmers and ranchers in the region. Without their tireless effort in working with Congressional leadership and key committees in Washington, D.C. this legislation wouldn’t have happen. We couldn’t be more appreciative.”
KWUA is a non-profit private corporation that has represented Klamath Reclamation Project farmers and ranchers since 1953. The Association’s membership includes rural and suburban irrigation districts, other public and private entities and individuals who operate on both sides of the California-Oregon border. These entities and individuals typically hold water delivery contracts with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and deliver water to over 1200 family farms and ranches encompassing more than 170,000 acres.
Press release provided from the Klamath Water Users Association.