New Portal to Track Regulation in the Klamath Basin
The Department has launched a new portal containing information about the calls for water made by senior users in the Klamath Basin, the status of those calls, whether regulation has occurred, and the priority date to which junior water rights are required to shutoff. Click here for details. Any questions about the information on this portal should be directed to the Klamath Falls Watermaster’s office: (541) 883-4182.
Background and Process for Regulation
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 not enough water to satisfy all water rights, water users with senior priority dates make a “call” to receive water, and users with relatively junior water rights are shut off until the rights of the senior users making the call are satisfied.
Prior to regulating junior users off, the Department’s watermaster staff must make field measurements to validate the call and determine whether there is adequate water at the point of diversion to satisfy the senior user’s water right demand. Once the calls are validated, the Department must begin regulating junior (newer) water right diversions off to benefit the senior users.
Unlike last year, watermaster staff will not be visiting each individual water user to provide notice of regulation. Instead, junior water users that are required to shutoff will receive a notice in the mail. This is the process that occurs across much of the state. Watermaster staff will follow up with field checks to ensure that water users are complying with the regulation.
Water users that have questions about regulation should contact the Klamath Falls Watermaster’s office at (541) 883-4182.