Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) announces a public meeting on irrigation power cost reduction actions, to be held Tuesday, September 10, from 9:00 to 12:30 at Klamath Community College Conference Center, Building 7, 7390 S. Sixth Street.
The meeting, co-hosted by KWUA and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), will provide water users and other interested parties with information opportunities for input regarding a Congressionally-directed report that will evaluate irrigation power costs in the Klamath Project and the Upper Klamath Basin. The report will also provide a plan to reduce costs to a level comparable to other areas of the Pacific Northwest.
Irrigation power users in this region operated with very favorable power rates for approximately 90 years based on special contracts with PacifiCorp. Those contracts ended in 2006 and rates have increased appreciably.
“We had very low rates for good reason, but regulatory requirements change and now we are in a bad position. Some of us have seen increases over two thousand percent,” said KWUA Power Committee Chairman Ben Duval. “We’re glad that Congress recognized the problem and required Reclamation to do this work.”
Reclamation has hired Kleinschmidt, a well-regarded engineering firm, to provide technical consulting services for the report, which will be completed by the end of this year. KWUA’s Power Committee has been meeting with Reclamation and the consultant every other week.
“We’re very pleased with how Reclamation has managed this process and engaged us,” said KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons. “Within KWUA we’re stronger on the water than power, but we are getting high-quality expertise on this project.”
DuVal stressed the importance of low-cost power in water management.“The Klamath Project is one of the most efficient irrigation projects anywhere,” he said. “Affordable power is critical to being able to recycle and re-use water to maintain that efficiency as well as allowing us to deliver water to our partners, the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges”
At the public meeting, KWUA and Reclamation and the consultant will present preliminary findings from the work on the report and encourage public comments and input. There will subsequently be drafts of the report for public review and comment. The September 10 meeting will also present an opportunity to hear from and meet with known or potential partners in the future effort, including Farmers Conservation Alliance, Sustainable Northwest, Oregon Tech, and Pacific Power.