But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought;
Hosea 13:4-5 ESV
Farming in an arid climate? Congress said yes in 1902.
The Klamath Reclamation Project started shortly after Congress passed the federal Reclamation Act. When completed, water traveled through 185 miles from reservoirs, dams, and canals from the Upper Klamath Lake to the farmland.
Veterans from both World Wars received homesteads. Drained lakes and marshes carved out the 200,000 acres of new farmland. Wildlife’s homes were preserved using water from reservoirs and recycled irrigation water.
Currently, a few groups rely on water for their cows and crops. Klamath Basin crops include potatoes, alfalfa, horseradish, and mint. Cattle ranchers need water for meat production. The Klamath Tribes believe sucker fish are sacred.
As well as sucker fish, salmon need adequate water levels. Flows of rushing water keep salmon from bacterial infections.
As huge as the Upper Klamath Lake is, at twenty-six miles long and six miles wide, the lake is only six feet deep. The geology and hydrology, or the study of the earth’s components and the movement of water over that earth, does not allow for any carryover water or soil storage of rainwater. And what water does accumulate is subject to toxic algae blooms. Draining the marshes left phosphorus and nitrogen levels high. This mineralization allows algae to grow and deplete oxygen.
According to a state water department, the groundwater levels have dropped about forty feet in the last couple of decades.
Klamath Falls felled a giant sequoia tree in Kit Carson Park this year. The news story reported new life through new projects from the dead and dying tree.
An article from Klamath Falls newspaper, the Herald and News, published a couple of short stories describing a dystopian answer to the conflict between all the parties needing water.
The farmers and ranchers have voted to access water, despite the possibility of putting their federal drought funding in jeopardy.
These are desperate times for those living in the Klamath Basin, and it affects all of us due to the loss of ranching and agricultural products they provide.
When times are desperate, the best answer are desperate prayers of heartfelt repentance to the Creator who made the beautiful Klamath Basin. Just as the people of Klamath Falls found ways to reclaim a dead and dying tree from arid soil, so can we reclaim water through our prayers before God. Only He has the wisdom and ability to bring the rain and how to bring life to all.