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Klamath Basin Water Agreement May Fall Apart

December 2, 2015

Over a decade ago, a whole bunch of people who didn't agree on much started meeting.

They all wanted access to some of the water in the Klamath River basin. What they didn't agree on was how much the others should have access to.

But the farmers and ranchers and anglers and tribal members and power companies and politicians kept meeting, and eventually they came up with a series of grand compromises.

Their idea was that fish, farms, and cows would share the water – and that some long-standing dams would be removed. It's known as the Klamath basin restoration agreement, and it was hammered out a few years ago.

But there's just one catch: if Congress doesn't authorize it by the end of this month, the whole deal could evaporate.


  • Jeff Merkley: Democratic U.S. Senator from Oregon
  • Becky Hatfield Hyde: Rancher in the Upper Klamath Basin
  • Don Gentry: Chairman of the Klamath Tribes

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Irrigation water was cut off in 2014 for hay farmers and other growers in the drought-parched Klamath Basin of Oregon and California.

Devan Schwartz