OSU economist examines the value of water in Upper Klamath Basin

CORVALLIS - A year after helping to produce a comprehensive report on water allocations in the Klamath Basin, an economist from Oregon State University has published two new briefs on the economic value of irrigation water and the potential benefits of water markets in the Upper Klamath Basin.

“Following last year’s report, we made the decision to stay involved and continue to help find solutions to future water shortages in the Klamath Basin,” said Bill Jaeger, OSU economist and author of the two new documents.

The first brief examines how the economic value of irrigation water varies enormously across the Upper Klamath Basin. The economic cost of a water shortage will depend on which parts of the basin end up without water, according to Jaeger.

The second brief explores how water transfers could work in the Klamath Reclamation Project.

“The cost of future water shortages could be much lower if we have the ability to reallocate and transfer water between farmers outside and inside the Klamath Project area,” said Jaeger. “Such flexibility gives people more options when they are faced with a water shortage.”

The two briefs were written in response to questions from the Klamath Basin community following publication of the larger report, “Water Allocation in the Klamath Project, 2001,” written collaboratively by scientists from OSU and the University of California.

“People in the basin are facing some big issues and these briefs provide pertinent facts in condensed form,” said Bill Braunworth, assistant Extension agriculture program leader. “We anticipate that additional briefs could be prepared on other aspects of water allocation in the Klamath Basin.”

These briefs, along with the larger report “Water Allocation in the Klamath Project, 2001,” can be found online.

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Bill Jaeger

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