Klamath drought relief passes U.S. Senate

Western Farm Press

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill that lawmakers say will provide needed relief to Klamath Basin irrigators facing water cutbacks this summer because of drought.

Oregon’s Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced July 1 they helped fix language in the 2018 Water Resources Development Act, adding more flexibility in how drought relief funds may be used.

The law provides up to $10 million a year in relief funds for water users in the basin straddling the Oregon-California state line. The new legislation will better enable irrigators to access the funding when there is a severe shortage of water, as there is this year, the senators said.

“As the Basin grapples with a particularly difficult season, this correction will allow farmers to access much-needed resources as they continue long-term work to address water supply challenges in the region,” Merkley said.

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