Oregon Regulators Find Klamath Tribes
Have Senior Right to Basin Headwaters

March 13, 2013, 7:00 PM

SEATTLE—Oregon Department of Water Resources regulators have determined that the Klamath Tribes’ water rights to the headwaters of the Klamath River in south central Oregon and northwestern California stem from “time immemorial.”

The finding issued March 7 that the tribes have the senior water right for Upper Klamath Lake and to parts of major tributaries above the lake reinforces their ability to prevail in water rights disputes dating back decades. Adjudication of those rights in a document that runs thousands of pages means “quantifying water right claims and putting everyone in line,” department attorney Jesse Ratcliffe told BNA March 12. ...

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