Impacts to Klamath Basin Real Estate
The ongoing water wars has exerted a long-term impact on Klamath Basin real estate. Water curtailments negatively impact your real estate values. Klamath Basin agricultural real estate sales totals in the hundreds of millions, per year, in sales revenue.
Not only have property owners seen the value of their investments decline, local services have felt the brunt of this loss of value as the tax base of Klamath County has shrunk.
- Experience with past water curtailments showed a loss of 90% in dollars per acre value. This value would be multiplied on a yearly basis for each year lost.
- A long-term curtailment of water will undermine those lands designated as “Exclusive Farm Use”. The resulting immense re-evaluation of hundreds of thousands of acres will disrupt the tax-assessed value of those lands.
- Realtors fear the complete loss of the market place. While difficult to quantify, this concern is real, driven by a loss of confidence within the agriculture community of long-term water supply reliability.
If the litigation is successful and Klamath Project surface water is curtailed again, the situation will be even worse for the local community. Several hundred thousand acres of farm and ranch land with junior water rights located outside of the Project have already been impacted by implementation of the state water rights adjudication. Tax collections are vital to maintain schools, parks, cemeteries, law enforcement and other community services. In 2001, the devastating water shut off lead the Klamath County Assessor to revalue all affected lands in the project and upper basin. This lead to an assessed value of ZERO dollars. The net result of the zero value designation meant that no taxes were collected on hundreds of thousands of acres.