Klamath County Commissioner challenges water shutoff

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams is challenging a state-ordered water shutoff for his ranch…but a local water association director says Mallams is just breaking the law.

Tom Mallams was ordered to shut off irrigation water at his ranch north of Beatty back in July due to a senior water call.

“The first order they sent me was incorrect.”  Says Mallams.  “They had the wrong statutes cited.  The second one was improperly done to try and fix the first one.  The third one they filed, we complied with.”

Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association doesn’t think Mallams’ actions are justified…

“He’s breaking the law – and that’s not okay.  And, he’s breaking the law at the expense of other landowners, including his own neighbors whose ground is dry.”

Mallams filed a legal challenge with the Oregon Water Resources Department in late August.

Mallams says that filing triggered an automatic stay…

“So legally, we’ve been able to irrigate the whole time.”

Addington disagrees…

“He’s going through that process with litigation, which is fine – but in the meantime, he needs to comply with the law until that process plays out.”

A spokesperson for the Oregon Water Resources Department says using water when denied by a water master carries a potential fine of $1000 a day.

Commissioner Mallams was targeted for recall earlier this week.

The petitioners cite Mallams’ non-compliance with state water law as one of the reasons behind their recall effort.

Skip to content