- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) - A vote next week could determine if Klamath-area irrigators will repair or shut down a vital water source.

Klamath Irrigation District irrigators will vote on Tuesday whether to approve a $10 million low-interest loan repayment contract, which would allow them to borrow money to repair a flume that was found to be structurally unsound, The Herald and News reported (http://is.gd/q3qdfL).

At an informational meeting hosted Tuesday by the Bureau of Reclamation, Area Manager Therese O’Rourke Bradford said the bureau does not want to shut down the C flume but that it could happen.

“We are doing everything we can to not go there,” she said.

As part of the district’s contract with the Bureau of Reclamation, the district is responsible for funding repairs to the C flume, but the bureau can provide a low-interest loan to fund the project.

But Oregon irrigations district law requires a public election before a district can go into debt to the federal government, according to Moss Driscoll, a bureau water contracts specialist.

“If there is a no vote, we will contact KID and say OK, you are not entering into a loan with us, so how are you going to get this done? They will have to demonstrate to us how they are going to do it without a low-interest loan from the federal government,” Driscoll said. “If they are not able to fulfill their requirements, it’s not likely they will be able to fulfill their contracts to others who are dependent upon that water.”

The bureau notified the district in 2013 that the C flume was compromised by cracking and flaking concrete, sagging beams and leaks. Jeremy Morris, project manager for Adkins Consulting Engineering, said to date, repairs to the flume have cost nearly $500,000.

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Information from: Herald and News, http://www.heraldandnews.com

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