NATIONAL WATER
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Oregon

OR • Talent sells river rights

OCTOBER 10, 2006| The small city of Talent, Oregon, long has had available to it 28.4 acre feet of water, courtesy of the Talent Irrigation District. the problem is, it hasn't been using that water, and has been paying $1,713 a year to hold on to them.
So it plans to sell.
Consultants have told the city that local agricultural interests may be willing to pay $100,000 for the rights, and at a meeting in October, prospective buyers were making their presence felt already.
The city also  receives, and will maintain, other water from the Talent Irrigation District, which it continues to use for general municipal purposes. [see Medford Mail Tribune, October 9]

Gearhart nears city rights

APRIL 7, 2006 | The small Oregon coast city of Gearhart has jumped through most of its requisite hoops and may obtain from the state long-hoped for water rights by early May. The Daily Astorian has reported that City Administrator Dennis McNally reported to other city officials that nearly all water quality and other requirements have been met, and word appeared positive from state officials. Gearhart has been buying water from nearby Warrenton. Voters in 2004 easily passed a bond to set up an internal city water system, but the city lacked needed water rights, and a small group (of about 30 people) in the city opposed the idea


Third draft for Klamath plan

FEBRUARY 12, 2006 | The Bureau of Reclamation on February 9 said the availability of the Third Draft of the multi-participant, basin-wide Conservation Implementation Program for the Klamath Basin. The document is available online or by calling 541 883-6935.
The document is the result of input by many interested parties and has been discussed in six public meetings held in Chiloquin, Klamath Falls, Yreka, Arcata, Klamath, and Weaverville. In addition to seeking confirmation that the current program in the CIP reflects the needs of the interested parties, Reclamation worked with the Basin's residents to identify consensus activities that were immediately activated. Typical activities implemented in 2005 included funding half of the cost of a Water Master for Shasta/Scott rivers for 2 years, continuation of the Salmon River gauge, support of the 5-year sucker review, completion of the Natural Flow Study, and other activities.
The purpose of the CIP is to: (1) restore the Klamath River ecosystem, (2) further the fulfillment of the Federal Government's tribal trust responsibilities as they relate to natural resources from the Klamath River ecosystem, (3) sustain agricultural, municipal, and industrial water use while reducing water demand throughout the Klamath River Basin, and (4) foster a lasting partnership between Government (Tribal, Federal, State, County, and local) and private interests of the Klamath Basin to advance the goals of the CIP.
Natural resource conflicts in the Klamath Basin have highlighted the need for a Basin-wide forum to identify and implement solutions. Moreover, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries issued biological opinions on Klamath Project operations calling for the formulation of a program to achieve or contribute to the recovery of several threatened and endangered species. In spring 2006, Reclamation will hold a public meeting facilitated by an organization development expert to discuss and determine a workable governance structure. Reclamation will again seek participation by all interested parties.
For additional information on the CIP or the public meetings, please contact Ms. Rae Olsen, Reclamation Public Affairs Officer, Klamath Basin Area Office, at 541-880-2543. See http://www.usbr.gov. Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Sacramento, CA, MP-06-21.


WA • Tri-city water deal hatched

APRIL 21 | One of the most valuable pieces of property in the Olympia, Washington area is the old Olympia brewery at the neighboring city of Tumwater. It was valuable not least because of the large water rights the Olympia brewery controlled, and when that company shut the plant down, the future of those water rights became one of the region's big unanswered questions.
The buyer of the plant, All American Bottled Water, had need of a considerable supply of water, but not nearly as much as its beer-making predecessor had used.
For several weeks officials from Olympia, Tumwater and a third nearby community, Lacey, met with officials from All American, and this week released a tentative agreement. It still requires approval from city councils and from state regulators.
The agreement calls for joint purchase by the cities of all of the former brewery's water rights, with an agreed guarantee to All American to supply its water needs out of the overall supply. The cities would pay $1,750 per acre foot of water. The state Department of Ecology has estimated about 7,000 acre-feet may be available, but All American suggested the amount may be smaller. The water would be transferable in the future, and All American's right to it would rely on its use of it; failure to use it over a protracted period would lead to its forfeiture by the company.
The deall apparently puts to rest what had appeared to be a major lawsuit in the making, when the city of Olympia on February 13 filed to condemn All American's water right claims. [see the Olympia Olympian, April 22]



Notes from all over

TAKING ON THE MEXICO CITY FORUM A guest opinion in the Cook County News Herald of Grand Marais, Minnesota, blasted the approach taken at the March Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City which equated water rights with human rights.
"After the first day of the meeting, however, it became clear that the government and corporate agents were only interested in turning water management into a business opportunity, whereupon the NGOs and activists established an alternative forum intent on identifying access to clean water as a fundamental right . . . If we accept the position that water is a common good, and an inalienable right shared by all people, does that mean that folks in China or France have as much right to Lake Superior’s water as we do?
Perhaps we would be better served if we didn’t use the concept of human rights to justify our control of Lake Superior’s water, but rather, focused on Cibber’s observation that possession is eleven points in the law."

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