KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- A Klamath Falls judge has denied a request to stop the state of Oregon from shutting off irrigation water in the upper Klamath Basin.
That leaves intact a state decision recognizing the Klamath Tribes have the most senior water rights in the basin. The water rights decision came down this spring, as drought began to sap water supplies in the high-desert region.
The tribes are using their water rights to protect threatened fish, and state workers have been shuttling off irrigation water in the upper basin.
Judge Cameron Wogan ruled Tuesday against putting the state water decision on hold while it's appealed, which he said could take five to 10 years.
He says that a stay would violate the "first come, first served" principle of Western water law.