Corporate partners critical to Water for Lifes survival

Jun 19, 2009
by WLJ
Corporate partners critical to Water for Life’s survival

Water for Life’s “Friends Helping Friends” program has provided thousands of dollars in income to support the organization’s efforts to protect agricultural water rights in the West. Water for Life was founded in 1990 by farmers and ranchers in Oregon’s Klamath Basin to represent agricultural water users’ concerns in legislative, legal and agency proceedings. As water issues gained more attention, the organization undertook the creation of a pro-agricultural group with the single-minded purpose of defending and promoting agricultural water rights.

The vision of an organization devoted specifically to agricultural water issues and to approaching them from a producer perspective has been achieved.

2009 has been a very challenging year at the Oregon Legislature. Over 20 bills were introduced that would in some way modify Oregon’s 100-year-old Water Code. Water for Life has worked diligently to block legislation that will adversely affect agricultural water users.

Proposed legislation includes mandatory measurement of all diversions, $100 per year fee on each water right, new and higher fees on transactions with the Water Resources Department, and removal of four dams on the Klamath River.

Protecting agricultural water rights is an expensive undertaking and Water for Life relies on funding from a dedicated membership and corporate sponsorship of events.

A major event for Water for Life is the Western Video Market at the Silver Legacy in Reno, NV, July 12-15, 2009. Each year for the past seventeen years, Merial has sponsored a hand-tooled saddle custom made by Thissel Saddle Shop. Over the past 16 years, the saddle auction has raised more than $100,000. In addition to the saddle, Salt Creek Industries has donated a hydraulic squeeze chute for auction at the Monday night dinner. Salt Creek Industries has donated six high quality squeeze chutes to Water for Life, generating $125,000 in support.

The third Water for Life event taking place at this year’s Western Video Market in Reno is the drawing of the winning raffle ticket for an electronic livestock scale donated by Scales North west.

This is the third scale donated to Water for Life by Scales Northwest.

“None of these events would be possible without the unwavering support of Ellington Peek,” said Water for Life President Bill Wilber. “Ellington has been a great friend to Water for Life and we really appreciate the opportunities he provides Water for Life.” Water for Life provides advocacy by acting as a watchdog of agricultural water users, defending the public interest in legal proceedings, and lobbying in opposition to policies or legislation that would adversely affect agricultural water right holders.

For more information about Water for Life and their mission, go to — WLJ