Watermasters have begun to notify ranchers in the upper Klamath Basin that they have to shut off their irrigation.
That’s to satisfy the needs of the Klamath Tribes and a federal irrigation project for more water.
Becky Hyde is a rancher in the Sprague River Valley whose irrigation is cut off.
She is a junior water rights holder in the upper Klamath Basin and was not surprised at the water shortage.
“We were certainly expecting the calls to happen. I think the depth of the call I did not assume that would come so quickly. I thought they would shut down the more junior stuff first.”
Some ranchers whose water is being shut off have to relocate their livestock or sell it.
The tribes and the federal government have newly recognized water rights to protect fish, other irrigators and wildlife refuges.