Irrigation District Accused of Cheating Oregon Farmers

July 5, 2016 07:10 PM
Irrigation District Accused of Cheating Oregon Farmers

Some northeast Oregon farmers have filed a federal complaint alleging they were cheated out of water.

The Capital Press newspaper reports the growers seek nearly $3 million in damages and an injunction requiring the Westland Irrigation District to properly deliver water.

The complaint alleges that water intended for 10 small farms with senior water rights was instead delivered to three large operations that have junior water rights. It contends the district used several tactics to make the overpumping possible, including fraudulent accounting and improper contracts.

District general manager Mike Wicks told the Capital Press he could not speak about the pending litigation. The district board will discuss the lawsuit in executive session at its meeting in Echo this week.

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