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CHILOQUIN, OREGON - Friday was a milestone in the lengthy Klamath Basin Water Rights Adjudication. The judge hearing the part of the Adjudication that deals with the claims of the Klamath Tribes issued six Proposed Orders quantifying the Tribes' water rights. In each case he ruled largely in favor of the Tribes' claims.
“The Proposed Orders give everyone in the Basin plenty to think about,”
said Jeff Mitchell who leads the Klamath Tribes' Negotiating Team.
"These rulings highlight the role that the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement can play in resolving Basin water issues. The Tribes will be evaluating the rulings and discussing them with others in the Basin to determine the best path from here on."
Some interests in the Basin advised people that the Tribes' water rights are minimal, but those interests have been proven wrong. People who followed that advice have obviously been misled in a situation where they are risking a lot.
Klamath Basin Restoration
The rulings encompass the Williamson, Sycan, Sprague, and Wood Rivers along with many of their tributaries, as well as the Klamath Marsh and springs scattered throughout the former Klamath Reservation. Cases involving Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River are expected to have decisions handed down in April.
"These rulings emphasize the need for Basin water interests to work together to find ways to share the water, share the pain of drought, and share the bounty of our waterways," said Tribal Vice Chairman Don Gentry. "The Tribes are committed to restoring fisheries and water bodies in the Basin, and we believe that agricultural and other water dependent communities can be restored at the same time. That is what the Klamath Basin Water Rights Adjudication can do," he said.
The ruling is welcomed by the Tribes who have fought for their treaty rights for many decades, and are prepared to fight many more. The Tribes' commitment to the Adjudication reflects their commitment to restoring the health of Basin fisheries and water bodies.
“Our commitment to these bounties provided by the Creator will never end,”
posted December 5, 2011 6:10 am est
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