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Scaled-back Klamath groundwater regulation debated


KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) – Oregon water regulators may scale back the number of wells subject to pumping shutdowns in the Upper Klamath Basin, but some irrigators remain uneasy about the proposal.

The Capital Press reports that under existing rules, groundwater irrigators within one mile of surface waters can be “regulated off” by senior water users who claim the wells are affecting their water rights.

The Oregon Water Resources Department is now considering a change to the rules, which would limit regulation to wells within 500 feet of surface waters in the basin, effectively reducing the number of wells subject to shutdowns from 140 to seven.

The agency expects to finalize the interim rules in mid-April until more permanent regulations are enacted in 2021 “so the bar quits moving for people down here,” said Ivan Gall, administrator of OWRD’s field services division.

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