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Klamath Letter

Klamath Watershed folks,

I want to call you attention to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science which looked at whether investments in irrigation system efficiency actually save water. They looked at the entire Upper Rio Grand Basin and concluded that:

“In contrast to widely-held beliefs, our results show that water conservation subsidies are unlikely to reduce water use under conditions that occur in many river basins…Conservation programs that target reduced water diversions or applications provide no guarantee of saving water.”

This is exactly what I’ve found in my investigations of Klamath EQIP and what I documented was facilitated by language changes in the 2008 Farm Bill. Certain environmental and fishing organizations supported the language change in a “compromise” with Dan Keppen and the Family Farm Coalition.

The same sort of boondoggle is now going on in Westlands/San Joaquin now using stimulus money!

Those in the environmental, fishing and restoration communities should stop supporting these projects in the Scott and elsewhere, which just give cover for continuing dewatering, and insist that conservation funds are not spent on projects that do not result in conservation. Language in a USDA appropriations bill is needed to correct the mistake environmental and fishing groups accepted in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Felice Pace