Irrigation District Bills

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, December 17 2012 at 4:49 PM, Updated: Mon, December 17 2012 at 5:01 PM

A Klamath Falls man says he's tired of paying fifty dollars a year for irrigation services he doesn't receive...and many others in Klamath Falls are getting the same bill.

78 year old Geno D'Orazio has been paying the Klamath Irrigation District fifty dollars a year for the past ten years for operations and maintenance fees.

Long before D'Orazio was born, the property on which he now lives was part of the 'Old Orchard Mannor'...but that 'orchard' is now a residential area.

"Do you do a lot of farming on your orchard here?'  "Oh, yeah - you can tell..."  Laughs D'Orazio.

Geno's son Joe D'Orazio notes those bills add up to serious money...

"It was 50 dollars and 75 cents this year.  If it's been the same every year, you're looking at about 500 bucks he's paid to them."

Klamath Irrigation District Manager Mark Stuntebeck says that problems occur when former farmland is divided up and developed.  Stuntebeck notes that D'Orazio isn't alone...

"I couldn't give you an exact number, but there's a considerable number in the south suburban area of Klamath Falls that may not have access to irrigation water, and they're still paying the bill."

Geno D'Orazio doesn't think that's fair.  "Well, they don't do anything to deserve it.  It would be just like me handing you 50 bucks, and saying, 'Well, I'll see you next year."

Joe D'Orazio agrees.  "It's like paying a power bill when you don't have a meter."

It cost D'Orazio 107 dollars to end his water right agreement.

But Joe D'Orazio thinks it's even more important to let others know...

"If you don't have irrigation water on your property, call 'em - get these forms, and get it expunged."

The irrigation district manager cautions that if a property owner cancels their agreement, they're also giving up any future irrigation water well as district drainage services.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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