|| Print ||
|Tuesday, July 21, 2009|
Water – who has it, who wants it, who needs it – is an endless battle in Oregon. Skirmishes were fought in this past session, but a bigger battle looms.
A water bill that was passed by the 2009 Legislature awaits the governor’s signature, and two days ago it was reported that an irrigation districts group sees the bill as a "back door that could easily shut down winter withdrawals" from the Columbia River.
Among other things, HB 3369 establishes a lottery-backed fund for water projects and helps the Water Resources Department to keep working on a long-term water strategy. Proponent WaterWatch called it a landmark water policy bill that would protect fish and rivers, and for the first time places statute protections for peak and ecological water flows. Which is what has the irrigators worried. HB 3369 had a long, winding, interesting journey through the Legislature, including bipartisan leadership.
While all this might seem a bit insider-baseball to most readers, it isn't. Oregon is one of only two Western states without a strategic water management plan, and taking any step toward that is huge. It's huge if you are for such a plan, and huge if you are against it. And there are many factions on each side of the argument. If you live in the metro Portland area, where most of the state's population resides, and have rain falling on your head most of the year, you wonder: so what? Who needs to manage water in a state where there's so much of it? Well, there isn't unlimited water in this state, and it's going to become even more scarce as the population grows and the climate changes in the face of already-dwindling water availability for farms, fish and people.
In January, I wrote about an ambitious plan for water management called Headwaters to Ocean (H2O). It was a $100 million idea by the governor to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the state’s many serious water supply and quality issues, and create a comprehensive water plan. But the effort was squashed under the weight of a bad economy and warring factions. (Opponent Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, in a March newsletter said the plan “would create stringent new water regulations from the mountain tops to the ocean estuaries.”)
|The Love Boat|
|The Food Pod Grows Up|
|The High Road|
|Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker|
|The Shift to Community Health Care|
|The Harder They Fall|
|Another chapter to the Bezos/Musk space race story|
|Thanksgiving travel: Fuel costs low, terrorism anxiety high|
|Costco chicken salad linked to E. coli case in Washington|
|Nestle comes clean about benefitting from slave labor|
|Enormous drugmaker emerges from Pfizer, Allergan deal|
|Startups joining lobbying game|
|Merchants complain as Square goes public|
Economic diversity has proven a smart strategy for the Port of Hood River. How can other Oregon communities replicate the model?
Phone, Internet needs of small community school districts earn attention of top-five telecom provider.
Farmland LP grows its vision for organic farming in Oregon.
The Salem Convention Center has capped its tenth anniversary year by earning the prestigious “Best of the Best 2015” award from NW Meetings & Events magazine. Selected as the Best Convention/Conference Venue in Oregon by meeting and event planners from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the Salem Convention Center ranked above the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Art Museum.
The Oregon Cooperative Hall of Fame honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to the successful building and operation of Oregon agricultural cooperatives.
Health insurer reports $10.2 million in net income after taxes through the first nine months of 2015.