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WATER FOR ALL

ISSUE: Water is essential for civilization to thrive. A dedicated and secure water supply is critical to national and food security.


In the past several years there have been many attempts, some with unfortunate success,

to decommission dams. Dams are essential to food and fiber production, transportation

for getting crops to markets, a stable source of renewable energy and flood control.


Currently, the Biden Administration considering decommissioning the Lower Snake

River Dams, which would in turn make the power grid unstable, raise energy costs, and

make transportation of crops to markets unsustainable. The Lower Snake River Dams are

under authority of Congress, not the executive branch.


The Klamath Basin Dam removal has already begun. We must hold the Department of

Interior and the Biden Administration accountable to keep their promise to the farmers in

the area that they have a reliable source of water for food and fiber production. The

farmers should not have to incur the cost of keeping their water infrastructure in place

when the federal government bears the responsibility of the situation (i.e the Keno Dam.)


American Agri-Women (AAW) supports agriculture as the highest and best use in

determining water allocation due to the economic and social necessity of producing

enough food, fiber, and fuel to accommodate the domestic population and to build the

economy by marketing value-added and surplus products.


American Agri-Women (AAW) urges state and federal governments to honor their

contractual obligations to agricultural water users who rely on water projects for

irrigation supplies. Full contract supplies are essential to maintain productive farmland.

American Agri-Women (AAW) supports the maintenance and continued investment for

development of dams, levees, canals, and other engineered facilities that provide multiple

benefits to people & nature.


AMERICAN AGRI-WOMEN REQUEST:

• SUPPORT THE 9 BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS SPONSORED BY CONGRESSMAN

NEWHOUSE (WA-04). The package of nine bills to protect the four Lower Snake

River Dams following the release of the final package of actions and

commitments in the Columbia River System Operations (CRSO) mediation which

undermines dam operations. You can find the package here.

• SUPPORT CONGRESSMAN BENTZ’S (OR-02), “THE KLAMATH BASIN SUPPORT

ACT”. THIS LEGISLATION IS AIMED AT PROTECTING AGRICULTURAL

PRODUCERS IN THE KLAMATH BASIN BECAUSE OF THE DAM REMOVAL. This bill

builds upon the promises made by parties to the agreement entered into regarding

dam removal and species restoration, all intended to shield farmers from the

adverse effects of dam removal. The legislation also ensures that the Department

of the Interior remains accountable, preventing the transfer of river infrastructure

unrelated to irrigation costs onto hardworking farmers. Read bill here.


BACKGROUND:

Lower Snake River Dams:

• The four Lower Snake River Dams, all of which are multiple-use facilities that

provide navigation, hydropower, recreation, and fish and wildlife

conservation benefits.

• Barging on the inland Columbia Snake River System moves, on average,

approximately 10 million tons of cargo valued at over $3 billion each year.

• Forty percent of the Nation’s wheat transits through this system.

• Replacing the Lower Snake River Dams with natural gas plants would add 3

million metric tons of carbon a year to the atmosphere.

• It would cost $1 billion annually to replace the capabilities of the Lower Snake

River dams with a carbon free portfolio of wind, solar, and batteries. Equating to

a 25% jump in electricity bills for millions of electric customers in the

Northwest.

• Breaching the Lower Snake River Dams without replacing the generating

capabilities would double the region’s risk of blackouts.

• Washington’s four Lower Snake River Dams produce more clean energy than all

of WA’s wind and solar combined.

• More than 90% of the City of Seattle and Seattle City Light’s electricity is

generated from clean hydro power.

Sources: Army Corp of Engineers and Tri-City Development Council

Klamath River Basin and Klamath Reclamation Project

• The Klamath Basin comprises about 10 million acres, 200,000 of which are the

irrigated lands of the Project. This includes exceptionally productive farm &

ranch land in Klamath County, Oregon, and Modoc & Siskiyou Counties of

California.

• A diverse range of high-quality agricultural products including alfalfa, hay, and

beef cattle to cereal grains, potatoes, onions, and specialty crops are produced

here.

• Agricultural communities share the Klamath Basin with tribes in both Oregon and

California. Three of these tribes (Klamath Tribes, Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Valley

Tribe) have fishing rights as a matter of federal law. Others (for example, Karuk

Tribe) also have a powerful interest in fisheries that have been part of the tribes’

lifestyle and cultures for time immemorial. There are also threatened and

endangered fish species in the Klamath Basin. Unfortunately, the basin has

become known for conflict, largely centered on allocation of water, with these

interests and others all active.

• On April 15, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) issued a 2024

Klamath Project Operations Plan that provides 230,000 acre-feet of water from

Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River for irrigation in 2024. This amounts

to 35% of the projected net inflow to Upper Klamath Lake during the 2024

water year.

• Both the Senate and House bills include protections to avoid or minimize the

negative effects of dam removal on Klamath Project irrigators. Specifically, if

enacted, the legislation would prevent irrigation water users from bearing

financial burdens for infrastructure not being removed that Reclamation will be

taking over from PacifiCorp. It would also assist in avoiding new regulatory

burdens that could result from salmonids occupying currently unoccupied.

• The Bureau of Reclamation must keep their commitment to agriculture

communities in the Klamath Basin.

Source: Klamath Water Users Association

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