[env-trinity] Klamath Herald and News: Band-Aids help, but real water answers must be for the long term

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed Aug 7 09:43:50 PDT 2013

This editorial came out July 25.  It is incorrect in saying that a lawsuit had been filed against the higher Trinity River flows.  

Not yet anyway...

Tom Stokely
Water Policy Analyst/Media Contact
California Water Impact Network
V/FAX 530-926-9727
Cell 530-524-0315
tstokely at att.net

Band-Aids help, but real water answers must be for the long 

While water users struggle to solve long-term problems on the Klamath River, the “here and now” also has to be dealt with. It calls for “Band-Aid” solutions for what’s going on this summer, but it also drives home the importance of improving the ability to head off such short-term crises with long-term solutions.
Falling into the short-term category is the possibility of using water from the Trinity River to augment Klamath River flows.
The Trinity is a major tributary to the Klamath in California, 42 miles from the ocean. The Bureau of Reclamation wants to send extra Trinity water to the Klamath starting Aug. 15 to help what is expected to be a heavy run of salmon coming upriver to spawn.
The move would benefit upper Basin irrigators, because it relieves some of the pressure on the Klamath, though it shifts the pressure elsewhere. Trinity River water is heavily used for a variety of purposes in California, including irrigation.
Central Valley irrigators have filed a court challenge to the diversion for the Klamath.
The Trinity also has other uses. It provides water for the Sacramento River — California’s largest — and adds to the Sacramento’s use for industry, ship navigation and power.
The Trinity and other Northern California rivers are tied together by the California State Water Project, which stores and distributes water to 29 urban and agriculture water suppliers through a series of huge dams, tunnels and canals.
A State of California website says 70 percent of the project’s water goes to urban users and 30 percent to agriculture.
The California water project is a massively bigger and massively more expensive version of the Klamath Project, which is mostly in Oregon, and is connected with it.
Those connections show how complex western water issues can be.
Band-Aids help. They work for the moment, but the real answer is long-term solutions most likely in the shape of a modified and less costly Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and its allied agreements. What already happened this year with the Oregon adjudication process, which awarded senior water rights to the Klamath Tribes and the federal government’s Klamath Project, makes it imperative.

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