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Water Association Defies Order To Stop Diversions From The Shasta River

In the fourth year of a painful drought, water wars are underway in the Klamath River Watershed, on both sides of the state line. The California Water Resources Control Board has just announced enforcement action against the Shasta River Water Association, which represents a group of Siskiyou County farmers and ranchers who rely on irrigation water from the Shasta River, a tributary of the Klamath. On August 17th the association informed state officials that they would defy curtailment orders and begin diverting water from the Shasta River. The flow rate measured prior to those diversions was about 47 cubic feet per second, and it subsequently dropped to as low as 12CFS. The emergency regulations set by the state are designed to help the survival of Chinook and Coho Salmon. Violating the order could cost the water association fines of up to $10,000 a day.

Meanwhile, the Klamath Irrigation District in Southern Oregon has reversed course and saying it is now complying with a federal order to stop delivering water to farmers. The district closed a canal after officials threatened to withhold Millions in drought assistance. The Bureau of Reclamation ordered the water shutdown last week but the irrigation district’s directors initially defied the order.