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

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

Green workplace 2.0

Linda Baker
Thursday, May 28, 2015
IMG 2808BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.


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