Oregon Water Supply and Conservation
The Oregon Water Resources Department (the Department) recognizes that water resources needs in Oregon are many, while our resources are finite. The Oregon Water Supply and Conservation Initiative gives the Department an opportunity to take a bird’s eye view of water demands and water availability throughout the state, and to strategically develop the tools, methodologies, and budgets required to ensure that those who need water—both in-stream and out-of-stream—will have access to the resource for generations to come.
|Water Demand Forecast|
The 2008 water demand forecasting team included Department staff, and a private sector consortium comprised of HDR Engineering and Cogan Owens and Cogan. The team took a two-tiered approach to demand forecasting, starting with already-existing reports and data (e.g., state population projections and irrigated acreage projections) to broadly characterize what Oregon’s future water demands might look like. The project team then “ground-truthed” this data at the local level using surveys and interviews of large water users (e.g., cities, drinking water districts, irrigation districts, etc.).
- The project team calculated today’s total statewide out-of-stream water demand at approximately 9.1 million acre feet, and projected that in 2050, the total would increase to about 10.3 million acre-feet, based on projections available for the the municipal, domestic, industrial, and agricultural sectors. Given the many uncertainties, the results actually show a range of demands, between 9.5 and 11 million acre feet for out-of-stream demand.
Online Forecast Tool
- The purpose of this demand calculator is to identify water use trends and to identify which adjustments may have the greatest effect on water demands in different parts of the state. Decision makers may find this tool helpful as they ask "what if" questions about water use, conservation, and efficiency practices. This online tool generalizes and simplifies the spreadsheet model created by projects partners.
The same private contractor and project team also surveyed water users to determine what potential conservation opportunities have been identified in Oregon but not yet pursued because of institutional, regulatory, or other barriers. The purpose of this question was to identify what types of public policies or resources might increase the amount of water conservation in Oregon. More than 96 respondents participated, from the agricultural community (18 respondents), municipalities (79), and other categories (4). Among them, they identified 135 projects—36 agricultural and 96 municipal. Each description included the type of conservation project and its current status, the location of the project, the potential public benefits, potential water savings, potential barriers to implementation, and estimated costs.
-view the detailed report prepared by the contractor describing the survey and the responses.
- view the sumarized responses from this survey, plus additional conservation opportunities as they become available.
|Potential Water Storage Sites|
Department staff has constructed an inventory of potential water storage opportunities in Oregon, including both above and below-ground sites. In this first phase, the project team collected as much existing information as possible so that the Department can serve as a clearinghouse for storage information. No attempt was made during this stage to assess the ecological or economic feasibility of these projects. The Department is providing this information so that communities can avoid “reinventing the wheel,” in terms of site investigation. This information will also help the state identify and prioritize possible future projects.
Above Ground Storage
To date, the Department has mapped the location of more than 1,200 potential above-ground storage sites. This information came from staff, other state, local, and federal agencies, and the general public. The Department has marked each site and linked all available information to the project, including capacity curves, reservoir inundation areas, and site maps.
Above Ground Storage Site Search
- This tool allows you to list sites by county and/or basin, view them on a map, see detailed information about the site, and view associated documents such as maps, studies, graphs, etc.
Below Ground Storage
At this time, the Department has compiled hydrogeologic data and extent estimates for more than 70 geologic units. This represents the major aquifers across the state. Information was collected from state and federal technical publications, staff and databases, as well as private sector studies. Based on available data about the aquifers' ability to accept water into storage, the Department presents an analysis of below ground storage potential. Data sources, data quality and evaluation results are linked to each potential site.
Below Ground Storage Site Search - This tool allows you to list sites by county and/or basin, view them on a map, see detailed information about the site, and view associated documents such as maps, studies, graphs, etc.
Below Ground Storage Assessment Report - The study collected existing aquifer data about more than 50 hydrogeologic units statewide. A weighted aquifer rating system assessing the physical capacity of aquifers to accept water into storage indicates that approximately 30% of aquifers are highly suitable. A secondary analysis of storage capacity suggests there is more than 8.4 x 107 ac-ft of potential underground storage available statewide, based on storage coefficient, depth to static water level and aquifer extent.
|Community Planning Grants|
|The Department awarded grants to 16 communities in 2008 for use in their water supply planning efforts. These awards total $200,000 and are meant to help communities that are taking a regional approach to meeting their current and future water needs. Applicants were eligible for up to $20,000 per project and had to provide at least 25 percent cost share. |
More than 30 applicants responded, requesting more than $600,000 in total. Projects were scored according to four grant criteria:
(1) demonstration of a regional approach;
(2) involvement of local officials;
(3) involvement of diverse stakeholders;
(4) closely tied to land-use, climate change, water quality or other related water supply issues.
The communities receiving grants represent diverse locations across the state, as well as a mix of counties, cities, and districts. The list features a wide variety of water supply projects, ranging
from water conservation, banking, storage, and transmission, to policy road-maps, instream (environmental) issues, and out-of-stream (municipal and agricultural) demand forecasts.
The Oregon Water Resources Department solicited requests for grant funding for communities and regions in need of financial resources to further their long-term water supply planning efforts. This map displays applications that were received and which ones were successful in obtaining funding. On the map below, clicking on successful applicants leads to additional information including a copy of their application. For more information please contact Jon Unger at
503-986-0869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.