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Water Task Force Formed

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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — After one of the driest years in recent memory, officials from Klamath and Siskiyou County joined this week to deal with water issues along the Klamath River.

A task force of Klamath County Commissioners and Siskiyou County Supervisors says they are behind efforts to replace the faltering Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, if it does not include dam removal.

Ever since Klamath County Commissioners Dennis Linthicum, Jim Bellet, and Tom Mallams voted to pull out of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement an effort has been underway to find some way to work out water problems in the Basin.

On Monday, Klamath County Commissioners joined with Siskiyou County Supervisors to form a parallel panel to represent citizen opposition to the KBRA.

“When Senator Wyden has a proposition on the table we’re hoping it’ll be something at we can support and we will be out there championing every place we can to help push that forward to a settlement that will help solve the problems her in the Klamath Basin,” explained Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams.

“It’s good to get together It’s something that we need to do a little bit more with the other counties,” said Klamath County Commissioner Jim Bellet.

“Our agenda is to represent the populations of our communities. So I think it’s a good thing for us to get together and have these conversations,” explained Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum.

Senator Wydens office says they thought Siskiyou and Klamath counties were invited to be part of the task force, but Mallams says that’s not true. He says he was personally invited as a rancher, but that would have been a conflict of interest.

“There are two other commissioners they seem to have forgotten, and Siskiyou County was blatantly left out,” said Mallams.

This big bucket in front of the Klamath County Courthouse is another reminder that in the Klamath Basin water is still one of the top concerns for most citizens living and working in this area. Formation of the task force with Siskiyou County is another attempt to try and solve some of those problems.

The next meeting of the Wyden task force is planned for Klamath Falls on October 10th, a week from Thursday. The panel of interested parties is dealing with power costs for irrigators, water supplies, and how to cut the cost of putting the KBRA into action.