GPID transfers power right to instream water right for site of Savage Rapids Dam

GPID transfers power right to instream water right for site of Savage Rapids Dam

By Amy Sienicki
KDRV News Watch 12
August 14, 2009

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Grants Pass Irrigation District has agreed to transfer its power right for the site of the Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River to an instream water right.

The transfer guarantees GPID enough water to operate its pump system. The environmental group WaterWatch of Oregon says the transfer will also add another layer of protection for Rogue River salmon and steelhead.

“We’re so lucky here in the Rogue Valley to have such a good natural resource so close. And it’s such an important resource that we should be looking at all ways to protect this resource for future generations,” WaterWatch Staff Attorney Bob Hunter said.

GPID says if the transfer didn’t take place, the power right would have disappeared with the dam.

“If nothing was done, the water right would disappear, and to get new water rights on the Rogue River from natural stream flows is basically impossible to do,” Grants Pass Irrigation District General Manager Dan Shephard said.

The new instream water right has the GPID’s old priority date of 1918. That means if there is a drought in the future, younger water right holders will have to give up some of their water to make sure there is enough for the district.

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