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Water problems are serious and it’s getting worse

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

{safe_alt_text} THE AUGUST COVER story [THE FIGHT FOR WATER] was excellent. As someone who has represented a number of municipal water and wastewater organizations at the Oregon Legislature, I and others with an interest in water policy issues have been struggling to describe Oregon’s water supply crisis to state decision-makers for years.

The plain fact is that we are facing a very serious collision as two significant trends approach an inevitable intersection: Oregon’s population is projected to increase significantly over the next 40 years, yet at the same time our surface water sources are almost entirely appropriated and groundwater sources are limited in many high-growth areas.

Though the state’s economic and environmental health depends on sufficient water supply and infrastructure, we still do not have a strategic statewide plan to address these needs. The Oregon Water Resources Department has historically been under-funded and struggles valiantly to do the best they can under difficult circumstances. We are finally getting some recognition of the problem, but still need additional resources to meet these crucial needs. Articles like yours are a huge help. It should be on the summer reading list for every policy-maker.

Amanda Rich
Western Advocates, Salem


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