From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.

Editorial: Let’s not kill fish to water farms

Coalition response…In 1988, under nearly identical flow conditions, twice as many salmon successfully migrated up the Klamath River than in 2002 with no die-off. In every other year that no supplemental water was provided, no fish die-off occurred. In the three prior occasions when supplemental flows were provided, no monitoring or analysis was conducted to determine whether the additional water provided any demonstrable benefit. The fact is, no one knows what caused the die-off in 2002 or why that terrible incident has never been repeated despite wide ranging flow and fish abundance conditions. And it is impossible at this time to say for certain whether or not such a similar event will occur again this year. What is certain is the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation knew of the request for these supplemental flows early enough this year to provide for them from the significant supply of water set aside specifically for environmental purposes. They chose not to. Rather, they chose to take more water from people that only have a 20% supply, make them pay for the action that is causing them greater harm and do so in a flagrantly illegal manner. This conflict is not about fish versus farms, there was water set aside for both.

Entirely avoidable, completely tragic.

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