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« Report: Western Water in the 21st Century - Stretching Supplies in a Prior Appropriation World | Main | Why We Won't Abandon Phoenix, or Albuquerque, or....Kingman? »

Tuesday, 03 August 2010


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John DeVoe

Dan Keppen of the FFA claims he's befuddled about what constitutes sustainable water use in the Klamath basin and on the Klamath Irrigation Project but he need not look any farther than this year for answers.

The KBRA would have attempted to "guarantee" 330,00 acre feet of water for the Klamath Project this year. Yet the KBRA provides no minimum guaranteed allocation for fish. I don't have to talk to the fish Dan. I just look at the Biological Opinions and other data to see what may be within the realm of reason for the water needs of ESA listed fish and the river.

This year, after the new Bi-Op came out, the project got around 185,000 acre feet. You cannot balance the needs of various competing interests for water in the basin by attempting to guarantee 330,000 acre feet to the Project in this water year. That is wholly unsustainable Dan. The KBRA just does not balance the water budget in the basin or recognize the legitimate water needs of fish. If you and promoters of the KBRA want to see the emperor as fully clothed, more power to you.

The KBRA continues the legacy of promising too much water to too many interests in the Klamath. Until we see real demand reduction in the basin and demand is brought into balance with what nature can provide, expect more of the same from the basin.

As for litigousness, I don't think it's even close. I'm quite certain that the irrigators have filed more Klamath related lawsuits than my organization has. I'd put five bucks on that. Are you willing to shake on that bet Dan?

Dan Keppen

In response to Mr.DeVoes' puzzling commentary:

"The FFA likes the KBRA because the KBRA attempts to guarantee the Project an unsustainable water allocation while providing no guarantees for fish."


Please define "unsustainable", John. What would be "sustainable", in your view, John?

"Guarantees" for fish, John? We anxiously await what the fish have confided (to you, apparantly)are the "guarantees" that will make them allow them some peace of mind.

This sounds like sour grapes, to me. Over 30 parties with portfolio sign on to a historic agreement...there may have been more that could have added their signatures, but, unfortunately, those (now marginalized) parties were unable to clearly credibly articulate and negotiate the "guarantees" that the fish demand...and so they were ousted from the process.

We look forward to more litigation and negative press attacks from you and yours in the future, John. Thanks for speaking up for the fish!


Family Farm Alliance Report: Western Water Management Case Studies ... I do not believe I know anyone currently living in an Arizona city, who advocates eliminating farm/ranch operations in our state. On the other hand, I know scores of people who openly question the manner in which farm/ranch use the water currently available to them. I did farm/ranch for a while in southern Utah, so I can speak with a bit of personal experience.

Much of the water utilized in the west by farm/ranch is on a ... “use it or lose it” ... basis, meaning that if one substantively uses less than his allotment most likely his allotment will be reduced, which given our economic mantra that more is better, that is an untenable solution.

Moreover though there are a potpourri of watering options available many of which would serve well the water challenged areas of the farming west, we show absolutely no proclivity to adopt them ... why ....?

Leaving aside for the moment the topics associated with “chemical” farming, why for example have we not pursued farming utilizing “drip” irrigation methods...?

Why, because for the famer/rancher there is no economic incentive. He is not penalized for using copious amounts of water to grow, relatively speaking, low value crops such as alfalfa in the arid deserts along the Colorado River of Blythe, Parker, etc.

On the other hand why should “we” ask farmer/ranchers to conserve water when in Arizona’s most populous metro area ... Phoenix ... we have NO mandated water conservation policy ... nor does our state ... but we do choose to impose restrictions on certain categories of human beings, those reputed and classified to be illegal’s.

In the “west” as in most of America ... WATER ... has become merely a commodity, for sale to the highest bidder ... and as recent action taken by ... UNITED NATIONS, Jul 28, 2010 - When the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) back in December 1948, 58 member states voted for a historic document covering political, economic, social and cultural rights.. General Assembly adopted another memorable resolution: this time recognizing water and sanitation as a basic human which the United States abstained ... serves to further illustrate the preponderance of value we place on WATER as a commodity ... a piece of commerce ... noting more.

The rights to water as well as the water itself is today ... commerce ... an article of ownership like GM or IMB stock ... so how could the US United Nations delegation vote to consider water as a basic human right ...?

Do not be surprised when farmers/ranches especially in the west awake one day to find they no longer own or have access to that water they were using as it is now the property of one of the world’s giant multinational water purveyors ...

John DeVoe

I would ask Dan Keppen and the FFA how the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement is an example of a creative and successful solution. Just look at this year. The purported water guarantees of the KBRA could not be satisfied without recreating lethal conditions for fish in the Klamath River. The KBRA is doomed to fail because it does very little to balance water demand and water availability in the basin. The FFA likes the KBRA because the KBRA attempts to guarantee the Project an unsustainable water allocation while providing no guarantees for fish. That's not creative and it won't be successful.

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