Irrigation water has now been shut off to about 200 farmers and ranchers above Upper Klamath Lake...due to a 'call' by the Klamath Tribes.
Klamath Tribal Chairman Don Gentry is at the very center of a water crisis...
"We've been looked at as the problem, and the solution. Somehow, that these problems are because of the Klamath Tribes, and if the Tribes would just give up water, everything would be fine."
The Tribes issued a 'call' in June for the state to enforce the Tribe's senior water rights...shutting off irrigation water to users upstream.
"It was very hard." Notes Chairman Gentry. "We knew that it would even impact Klamath Tribal members, that are in the area that are irrigators, and own property, and have individual water rights."
Gentry maintains the shutoff was justified to help protect endangered species, and other resources.
While low mountain snowpack levels and continued drought conditions were key factors in the decision to shut off water to off-project farmers, Gentry cautions that those restrictions could remain in place during normal water years...
"Well, I think it's pretty obvious - even in non-drought years that the junior water users will be affected into the future. So, there will be calls made."
A Klamath Falls judge denied a request Tuesday to turn those irrigation flows back on.
Chairman Gentry represents the Klamath Tribes on the Klamath River Basin Task Force, a group that's working to hammer out an agreement that's cheaper, and has broader appeal than the KBRA.
That task force is scheduled to meet next in Klamath Falls on August 1st.