Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden secures drought relief for Klamath Basin in upcoming legislation

September 10, 2018
Press Release

Greg Walden secures drought relief for Klamath Basin in upcoming legislation

Bill authorizes $10 million annually for four years to support drought relief activities in the Klamath Basin

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today announced that he has secured drought relief for Klamath Basin irrigators in legislation that the House of Representatives will consider this week.  Walden included a provision in the Water Resources Development Act that authorizes $10 million annually for four years to the Bureau of Reclamation to implement needed drought relief measures for the $181 million agriculture economy in the Klamath Basin.

“Irrigators in the Klamath Basin are enduring another challenging water year and we need to be prepared if our farmers are hit again with severe drought conditions in the years ahead,” said Walden. “The Bureau of Reclamation needs the authority to use the funds we secured earlier this year to implement measures such as groundwater pumping and other priorities for our irrigators. This bill will ensure Reclamation has that authority for the next four years to help farmers, ranchers, and water users navigate the current water year and survive the difficult water years we may face in the near future. I want to thank my Senate colleagues and Rep. Peter DeFazio for working with me to keep this measure included in the bigger bill,” said Walden.  

Walden is continuing his efforts to support the agriculture community in Klamath County. There are more than 950 farms in Klamath County that generate approximately $181,485,000 in revenue according to census data.

In the government funding measure that was passed into law in March, Walden worked to secure more than $10 million in emergency aid and worked with the Office of Management and Budget to get it released to the Bureau of Reclamation, (BoR).

This latest effort will provide direction to BoR on how the agency is to spend the funds acquired earlier this year and any that are appropriated in succeeding years. This will give BoR the authority to spend $10 million each year over the next four years to implement measures such as:

  • Groundwater pumping to increase the flexibility, reliability, and efficient use of water in the Klamath Basin;
  • Temporary and voluntary land idling on Bureau of Reclamation property to make additional water available; and,
  • Facilitating the movement of non-Project water through Bureau of Reclamation facilities to assist irrigators.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Water Resources Development Act in the coming days. For more information on this legislation, please click here.