Tag Archive for 'Klamath River'

Water Wars: Who Controls The Flow?

Photo retrieved from: www.npr.org

“There are two doctrines that govern surface water rights in the U.S. — one for the West and one for the East.

‘A Reasonable Right’

The riparian doctrine covers the East. “[Under] the riparian doctrine, if you live close to the river or to that water body [or] lake, you have reasonable rights to use that water,” says Venki Uddameri, a professor and the director of water resources at Texas Tech University.

The Western U.S. uses the prior appropriation doctrine. “As people started exploring the West and started looking for water for agriculture and mining, there was a need to move water away from the rivers,” Uddameri tells Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

People wanted a claim to water but often lived too far away from a river for the riparian doctrine to make any sense. So the prior appropriation doctrine was devised.

Uddameri explains: “It allocates rights based on who started using the water first. So if you are first in time, you are first in rights. And historically, it was based on a permitting process where you go and say you asked for the permit first, so you became the first user.

“But then there’s been a shift saying not first use strictly based on who asked for the permit first, but who was actually there first,” he says.” “So the Indian tribes who were there first may not have asked for a permit, but there’s recognition now that they were the first users of water, so they get that first appropriation.”


Read more: NPR


Feds urge extra water to prevent repeat of salmon kill

Photo retrieved from: www.farallones.org

“Federal authorities want to send some extra water to the lower Klamath River in Northern California to prevent a repeat of a 2002 fish kill that left tens of thousands of salmon dead before they could spawn.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has proposed releasing additional flows down the Trinity River, the Klamath’s biggest tributary, late this summer in anticipation of record returns of fall chinook.

There is no extra water to be had from the upper reaches of the Klamath River itself, where court battles have long dictated how scarce water is shared between farms and fish.

“We are really glad the bureau is taking this seriously, but we are really concerned that no extra water will be coming out of the Klamath reservoir,” said Regina Chichizola, spokeswoman for the Hoopa Valley Tribe. “It seems that after the fish come past the Trinity River, the ones that come up the Klamath will be in danger of a fish kill.”

The proposal came from a team of scientists from tribes, and state and federal agencies involved in restoring salmon in the Trinity.”

Read more: The Register-Guard