Regulation of Project water not deserved
by Klamath Water Users
Association Executive Director and attorney Paul Simmons, letter
to Herald and News 7/2/21
Glen Spain is
an effective fisheries advocate who has been consistent for
years in the message that dam removal will have a broad
range of benefits, including to Klamath Project irrigators.
Today, I leave
that debate to others. What jumped out from his commentary
is that Project water is regulated and re-allocated in order
to mitigate impacts the Project does not cause.
identifies the current hydro dams as “a primary reason” for
a “need for augmented river flows." Specifically, the hydro
dams “foster the very disease hotspots” that have led to
demands for augmented river flows to mitigate the disease.
flows — flushing flows — are intended to dislodge
microscopic worms, hosts of the C. shasta parasite, from
downstream river substrates. It’s an inefficient use of
water: consider that 12,000 acre-feet (roughly four billion
gallons) per day has been released during the flushing
water to irrigate nearly ten square miles of family farms
for an entire year.
the (good) arguments about whether this practice is legal,
it is not fair or right to require Project irrigators to
mitigate impacts they do not cause, especially when the
burden is so destructive to rural communities.
C. shasta is a
problem. Respected scientists believe that removal of the
hydro dams would restore natural sediment movement that
disrupts the worms. Time may tell. But the current practice
of releasing stored water from Upper Klamath Lake inflicts
harm on irrigators to mitigate a problem they do not cause.
No one uses a
fire hose when the driveway needs sweeping. My organization
has advocated several pathogen control strategies that do
not simply throw water at the problem. Those strategies
Dams or no
dams, it’s wrong to regulate Project water “because we can."
Klamath Water Users Association
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