Klamath Adjudication Update

From Rogue Basin Water User Council

     The Rogue Basic Water Users Council, Inc. exists to handle issues and events that are common to the three local Irrigation Districts which consist of Medford, Rogue River Valley and Talent. The Klamath Adjudication process is the process that will “firm-up” the water rights and water use in the Klamath Basin. The Klamath Adjudication has been on-going for some 30+ years.

     The Klamath Adjudication and Klamath Basic Restoration Agreements (KBRA) are two very different things. The Districts have been working on, and are fully engaged in the Klamath Adjudication process, which is a water right regulation and quantification issue.

     The KBRA (among other things) hinged on Klamath River Main-stem dam removal. The Klamath dams have nothing to do with the Districts’ diversion or transportation of water to the Rogue Basin. The Districts were approached by both the proponents and opponents of the KBRA at one time or another to take a position on the KBRA. However, the Districts determined the KBRA was a local issue in the Klamath Basin rather than a Rogue Basin Issue, and chose to remain neutral with respect to the KBRA.

     The Klamath Adjudication process has recently come to the point that the State   of Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) is confident that it can regulate water rights in the Klamath watershed to the priority dates that were accepted in the Adjudication. While there are many unknowns at this time, both legal and physical, the Final Order of Determination (FOD) has been released and OWRD will now have the authority to “regulate” water rights to that Order.

     A large portion of the Districts water supply comes from stream flow diversions and storage reservoirs that are within the Klamath drainage. Some of the priority dates that have been allowed could have a negative effect on our water supply. One concern is that some Tribal water rights have been granted a water right priority date of “Time Immemorial” which is basically a priority date that is senior in right, to any other within that river basin. The Districts are looking into how it can affect their water supply.

     There are several water rights that are senior to the Districts water rights but there are hundreds of water rights that are junior to the Districts rights that should be regulated prior to the Districts. There is going to be a lot of activity on the Districts part to work on answers to these very complex questions.



We started off the 2013 irrigation season hard & fast. The normal ramp up did not happen this year. We were at full capacity in the canals from the start. The District had to start drawing on our reservoirs sooner than normal. We would like everyone to beware and try to keep run off water to a minimum. The ditchriders will be a bit more strict on their deliveries this season.. If everyone does their part to conserve water, we will have a successful 2013 irrigation season.

Maintaining Water Rights

Water rights within the District must be used at least once in every-five year period. Oregon Revised Statue 540.610 mandates this requirement. If the water right is not used for a beneficial use, the landowner and the District could lose the water right. Maintenance of the water right is the patron’s responsibility. The water right is an asset to your land. If you choose not to use the water right, please contact the District to transfer the use.

Bear Creek Watershed TMDL Implementation Program

               The Bear Creek Watershed Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) Implementation Program was created to improve the water quality in the Bear Creek Watershed. Rogue River Valley Irrigation District’s annual report will be submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality in September 2013.

             Several organizations and agencies participate in the Bear Creek TMDL Implementation Program. Since 1997 stakeholders have spent more than $39.5 million on water quality improvement projects within the Bear Creek Watershed. As a result of these projects the water quality has improved significantly since 1996.

             Currently Bear Creek and its tributaries do not yet meet the total allowable phosphorus concentrations, substantial progress has been made and continues to be made as Rogue River Valley Irrigation District along with the other agencies and organizations continue to work with this program.


Rogue River Valley Irrigation District’s No Spray Agreement

             If you are a landowner and would like to request that no chemicals are used to control plant growth on the District’s right of way on your property please call our office. Please contact office annually to ensure that we have you on our No Spray List. To guarantee that we have the proper time to notify our dtch riders call the office before February 1st.

Private Irrigation Lines

The District would like to remind all those water users that have a private line of their responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of their lines. Maintenance of these lines helps to keep water running smoothly during the water season. Landowners of these lines can contact the District office to hire our maintenance crew to come and clean their lines.

IMPORTANT Reclamation Reform Act Information

           Because Federal funds of the Bureau of Reclamation were used to finance the reconstruction of the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District in the late 50’s and 60’s, the Reclamation Reform Act (RRA) applies to the users of water within the RRVID.

         If you own, operate, and/or lease 40.1 acres or more (this side of the Mississippi River) you must comply with the requirements of RRA. If you own, operate, or lease 40.1 acres or more and have not filed an RRA form, please contact our office IMMEDIATELY at 3139 Merriman Road, Medford OR 97501 or call 541-773-6127.

         The Bureau of Reclamation requires that the RRA forms be on file in the District office before water can be delivered to the said property to avoid fines.

2013 Current Water Supply

         The 2012 Irrigation season ended when water deliveries were shut off to the District’s canals on October 15th. As of June 21, 2013 the Districts water supply is:

Agate Reservoir     3,803 acre feet or 81% of capacity

Emigrant Lake      32,346 acre feet or 83% of capacity

Fish Lake                 6,445 acre feet or  82% of capacity

Four Mile Lake     8,136 acre feet or 52% of capacity

Howard Prairie    47,623 acre feet or 79% of capacity

Hyatt Lake             13,374 acre feet or 83% of capacity

               Canal/Road Maintenance and Right of Ways

               Maintenance Season is here at Rogue River Valley Irrigation District. RRVID will be starting this year’s maintenance in an aggressive manner. Please remove all debris, obstacles, pipelines, bridges, walk boards, etc., in anticipation of our equipment coming your way.

               Those landowners who own property along the main canal are well aware of the maintenance that has to take place on a regular basis. Each fall after the water has been shut off, the silt and vegetation needs to be removed from the canal. RRVID typically puts this material back across the canal road or uses it to level the road from damages caused by human and animal traffic during the spring. RRVID’s easements and right-of-ways are for District access, operation and maintenance only. They are not public right-of-ways. Entrance onto their easements and right-of-ways may constitute trespassing on the underlying landowner’s property.

               RRVID will be mowing the canal banks again this fall and spring. RRVID will be using our flail mowers that mount to our tractor to mow blackberries and brush along our right-of-ways.                         

               RRVID would like to request our water users to please limit the use of the canal ditch roads during the off-season. The use of these roads in the off season can cause undue damage to the ditch roads, and more work for our maintenance crew that has to fix them. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.