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

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


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...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


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