It’s time to make the tough water decisions

| Print |  Email
Monday, October 01, 2007

AUGUST'S ARTICLE [THE FIGHT FOR WATER] offers the clearest depiction yet of Oregon’s growing water supply predicament — and should be required reading for anyone interested in Oregon’s future. As I said in my Oregon Water Handbook, “to make a long story short, Oregon’s out of easy water.” Yet no one seems to be able to articulate — let alone make — the hard water decisions required for us to avoid a prolonged and possibly searing water crisis.

This is in stark contrast to 1909, when after years of effort, a consortium of Oregon interests came together to support enactment of the Oregon Water Code, the law that declared water from all sources belonged to the people of Oregon, and warranted careful management. That the Oregon Conservation Commission, the Portland Board of Trade, the State Grange, and the Oregon Irrigation Society found common ground to lobby hard for such a far-reaching law speaks volumes about how critically Oregonians once regarded water — and volumes about leadership that seems sorely lacking today.

While it’s nice the 2007 Legislature scraped up $750,000 to look into Oregon’s water future, that’s peanuts compared to the $5-plus billion California has invested in its water projects, or the $200 million Washington recently authorized for water supply issues. This shortsighted approach to Oregon’s water future makes clear that Oregon just doesn’t take water seriously. While that’s not likely to change in the next couple of years, I still find myself dreaming we might mark the centennial of Oregon’s water code with some meaningful level of investment by the 2009 Legislature.

Rick Bastasch
Author, Oregon Water Handbook, Salem

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


More Articles

Playoffs pay off for the Ducks

The Latest
Friday, January 02, 2015
oregon-ducks-logo-helmet-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The University of Oregon football team looked unstoppable on the field Jan. 1 — and the university is reaping the benefits of the new postseason format.


Ski traffic

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Corner Office: Pam Edstrom

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.


Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation.


Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Raising the Stakes

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The 2014 Bend Venture Conference set a record for the most cash, investments and prizes awarded at an angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. Investments in the six winning companies exceeded $1 million. The 11th annual conference was hosted by Economic Development of Central Oregon.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02