What started several years ago as a gentlemen’s agreement has ended in disagreement.
In their annual meeting, the Little Butte Irrigation Company has ended a relationship with Jackson County Roads department. The original agreement was that the Jackson County Roads Department would occasionally dip a tanker of water from Little Butte Irrigation ditch in exchange for some token work and 20 bucks a year in compensation.
According to board members of Little Butte Irrigation, that few tankers has escalated into a parade of tankers, as many as 30 per day and two to three times per week, lined up to dip from the canal. And, there has been good reason to want to use the irrigation ditch. Most of the water is used for dust abatement, and the canal is the closest source of water. Otherwise, trucks have to travel to much more distant points to fill. The additional distance means a great deal more time and a lot more fuel.
A portion of the former agreement was the occasional small repair needed for the system. When officials of Little Butte asked for a return favor, the irrigation district said the county flat denied their request. This naturally led to hard feelings, which then led to President Ken Olson contacting the Water Master only to find that the agreement was never proper in the first place. According to the Water Master’s office, no one has any rights to the water unless they have a water right from the system, and Jackson County does not possess any of those rights.
The Little Butte Board of Directors has instructed President Olson to issue a letter prohibiting Jackson County from taking water from Little Butte canals.
In other business, the board reported infrastructure repairs need to be accomplished before failures occur. They will contact outside agencies for quotes on those projects. Other smaller projects will be accomplished in-house.
Board members Gary Leonardo, Ken Olson and Stan Deupree were unanimously reappointed to the board for a two year term. Olson was re-elected to another term as president and Ron Bjork was elected to serve another term as vice -president.
By Ralph McKechnie
For the Independent