Grants Pass, OR -

Ranchers and the Klamath Tribes have reached a tentative deal for sharing water in the drought-stricken Upper Klamath Basin.

Members of a special task force signed an agreement in principle Monday in Klamath Falls. Their goal is to reach a final agreement early in 2014 that will guide legislation to be offered by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden.

The task force was brought together by Wyden, Gov. John Kitzhaber and others after water was shut off to hundreds of ranchers to meet water rights newly awarded to the Klamath Tribes.

Cattle rancher Roger Nicholson says if this brings peace to water battles in the upper basin, it will be welcome.

Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry says it is a critical step, but there is a lot of negotiating left to do.