Statewide Open Houses Promote a Water Future for Oregon

A series of open houses are currently being held throughout Oregon to gather input for the development of the statewide Integrated Water Resources Strategy, established during the 2009 legislative session by HB 3369. The bill directed the Oregon Water Resources Department to develop a plan to integrate water quality, water quantity and ecosystem functions throughout the state by December 2012.

Water is an economic driver in all communities. Taking a hard look at Oregon’s water resources and today’s economic, social and ecological demands is important. Most surface waters are fully allocated in the summertime. In many areas groundwater basins face diminishing supplies.

Developing solutions to solve several water issues at once would be an astounding accomplishment and a potential economic opportunity for Oregon and for our rural communities. For example, creating off-stream storage to capture water during high water flows, and using it to recharge ground water limited aquifers, could be a win for everyone.

Communities throughout Oregon should be provided with a strategy that embraces a local approach to enhancing water resources. Oregon policymakers should capture the creative ingenuity of their citizens. Oregonians should demand the creation of a system of managing water resources that recognizes local conditions, allows flexibility to address future needs as they develop, and fosters economic opportunity.

Click here for the schedule and location of the Water Resources meeting held in your community.

Karla Kay Edwards is Rural Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute. She has held positions of leadership in numerous organizations focusing on agricultural and rural industries and issues, including the Fresno (California) Farm Bureau, Washington Cattlemen’s Association and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 2 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Britt Storkson

    Water is a natural resource like coal, oil, timber and other minerals. Likewise water should be sold just like these other natural resources are with everybody paying the same price.

  • Bob Clark

    There may also be big potential in selling water from surplus areas to deficient areas. For example, it may be economical and rewarding to barge fresh water from the mouth of Columbia River down to Southern California.

    In the city of Portland, residents are facing sharply escalating water and sewer rates (both applied to water volume use). Water husbanding on one’s property may help offset some of this escalation. Husbanding water during storm surges could also help the city in reducing storm water runoff. You don’t have to put on an expensive eco roof on your house to do so. For example, the bed of my pickup truck collects lots of rain water which would otherwise flow immediately into storm drains. Maybe I should get a credit for this off my water bill.

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