The Department has created a web portal containing
information about calls (requests) for water made by senior water users in
the Klamath Basin. The site contains the stream location, status of calls for
water received, whether regulation for water distribution has occurred, and
the date of priority to which junior water rights are not allowed to be
diverting water. Click
here for details.
The Klamath Tribes hold determined water right claims with a
priority date of time immemorial, making them the most senior water users in
the Upper Klamath Basin. The determined claims allow the Tribes to provide
for a healthy riparian habitat. The Department has a web page with information
on the Klamath Tribes’ instream determined claims, which displays a graph for
the water year, and shows the current mean daily streamflow along with past
streamflow measurements made by Department staff.
This information will help water users know when water is
available for diversion, based on whether the senior tribal determined claim
is met. Please note: the graph does not display whether regulation is in
effect due to calls for water from other senior users. Click
here for details.
Questions about the information on this portal should be
directed to the Klamath Falls Watermaster’s office: (541) 883-4182.
Background and Process for Water Distribution
Like most western states, Oregon follows the “prior
appropriation” doctrine of water use, often referred to as “first in time,
first in right.” This means that when there is insufficient water to satisfy
all water rights, water users with senior priority dates make a “call” to
receive water, and users with junior water rights are shut off until the
rights of the senior users making the call are satisfied.
Prior to distributing water from junior users to senior
users, the Department’s watermaster staff make field measurements to validate
the call and determine whether there is adequate water at the senior right’s point
of diversion to satisfy the senior user’s water right demand. Once the calls
are validated, the Department must begin distributing water from junior
(newer) water right diversions to benefit the senior users.
Watermaster staff will visit water users to inform them
that water distribution is occurring, and to provide information on how to
track the status of the regulation.
Water distribution notification can also occur by postal mailing of a notice
of regulation, which requires junior water users to shut off their diversions,
pumps, or wells. This process occurs across much of Oregon every year.
Watermaster staff follow up with field checks to individual points of
diversion to ensure that water use is in compliance with regulation orders.
Water users who have questions about the regulation for water
distribution should contact the Klamath Falls Watermaster’s office at (541)