Significant water funding sinks

| Print |  Email
Thursday, January 01, 2009
SALEM It was an ambitious plan felled by the collapsing economy. But since we’re talking water, contentiousness also played a hand.


The governor in the spring began a serious attempt to wrangle the state’s many water issues and proposed a $100 million effort, called Headwaters to Ocean (H2O), that would address wide-ranging water supply and quality issues and finally create a long-term water management strategy. Oregon is one of only two Western states without a comprehensive water plan.

Over the past several months, an advisory group to Headwaters to Ocean worked over the early proposal. Included were representatives from environmental groups, cities, tribes, agriculture and others with a stake in water.

In early September, “We concluded that there was not enough agreement among stakeholders to build a consensus in time to propose [a water plan] to the January Legislature,” says Mike Carrier, the governor’s natural resources policy director. So the group was asked to focus on asking for legislative support to continue designing an initiative as well as immediate needs for 2009. In November it delivered a proposal for a $55 million lottery-backed bond package that would have provided financing for Umatilla Basin water projects, along with more than $16 million for water agency budget initiatives. Then the economy tanked. When the governor issued his recommended budget in early December, what was left of water-related funding was a trickle: $3.3 million to fund the first phase of the Umatilla Basin project and to support the development of a long-term water initiative.

“What we hoped to do last spring when we rolled out H2O was to ask the Legislature to fund this initiative,” says Carrier. “Now we are asking for the funds to complete the planning for this initiative. Then we will come back in a 2010 special session or the 2011 Legislature with a strategy.”

The governor’s budget includes $2.5 million, to be funded by lottery-backed bonds, for a recharge project in the Umatilla Basin. The basin has suffered sharp groundwater declines and this project would divert winter-month water from the Columbia River into the aquifer for irrigation in the basin. Eastern Oregon was the region that spawned the controversial “Oasis Bill” that was defeated in the last session, which sought to pull more water from the Columbia year round. The  budget also includes about $492,000 for the Water Resources Department and DEQ to help get the water strategy done.

“Given how serious this financial situation is, we’re fortunate to put $3.3 million toward water issues,” says Carrier. “The number could have easily been zero.”

ROBIN DOUSSARD


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Brain Storm

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA

Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

Reader Input: Fair Play

May 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS