Task Force Directive: Find A Klamath Basin Water Solution

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, July 9 2013 at 5:03 PM, Updated: Tue, July 9 2013 at 5:13 PM

A high level directive...

A new group formed by the Governor and Senator Ron Wyden Monday has two months to hammer out solutions to Klamath River Basin water sharing.

Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams is hoping the new group can find a way to share limited water in the drought-stricken Klamath Basin for fish, farmers, and Tribes...

"Some of the others have taken a hard line on this, saying it's all or nothing the way it is right now.  I'm hopeful that they will back away from that."

Senator Ron Wyden has been a key organizer of the Klamath River Basin Task Force...

"Let's have some suggestions at this point on how we can continue to bring the parties together, and do it in a way that we shave some of the costs to taxpayers."

The task force will include some off-project irrigators, and Tribes who have been unsatisfied with agreements so far...and the feeling that everyone has been  left wanting for water resources.

"Senator Wyden has reached out to a farther, larger area."  Notes Commissioner Mallams.  "I'm very optimistic that hopefully, he's done his homework, and is feeling that those parties will be in line to compromise also."

The group needs to come up with a plan by September 10th.

Senator Wyden hopes there will be a payoff:  "And all of a sudden, people in the congress say, 'they're really working very hard to try to bring us something that's viable."

...And, more likely to get money out of Washington. 

They can't make more water, but with technology and management they're hoping to stretch the resource.

The Klamath River Basin Task Force will meet for the first time this Thursday afternoon in Medford.  They're scheduled to meet at the S.O.U. Higher Education Center on Bartlett from 1 to 5.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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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