Milky Way Water Truck

Mike Szabo (left) attaches a hose to the milk truck which was retrofitted with a custom made pump to assist in water deliveries. Aaron Foster (right) unrolls the hose and takes it to the backyard where the tank is.

The Oregon Department of Human Services is extending water deliveries for Klamath County residents with dry domestic wells into next spring, county commissioners announced on Thursday.

Due to a zero allocation of Upper Klamath Lake water to the Klamath Project this summer, dry irrigation canals and increased agricultural groundwater pumping left over 200 homes in the project footprint without water in their domestic wells.

The county began working with the state to provide water tanks and refill sites to affected homeowners in late July, initially announcing that the assistance would cease with the irrigation season at the end of October. But given that shallow groundwater recharge won’t begin until the end of winter and the basin’s few well drillers are booked up for months, the program has been extended.

“We know that the state support for these homeowners can’t continue indefinitely, but we also are aware many of the wells won’t be recharged until the spring and homeowners haven’t necessarily been able to find a longer-term solution due to the shortage of well drillers,” said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris. “I requested the state extend the deadline to help provide relief to our citizens while they work toward longer term solutions. I’m incredibly thankful to the ODHS for their willingness to step up and continue to assist.”

Questions about the program can be directed to Commissioner Minty Morris at 541-883-5100 or kmorris@klamathcounty.org.

Homeowners with dry or failing wells should continue to stay in contact with the County Watermaster’s Office at 541-883-4182.