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Governor Kitzhaber announces next steps on New Water Initiative to improve availability of water during dry summer and fall

​Advisory task forces will hold joint meeting on Friday, August 15, at the
Oregon Water Resources Department in Salem

 
(Salem, OR) —  Governor Kitzhaber today announced next steps on a new water initiative designed to improve Oregon's year-round water management and leverage private investment in new water projects. Two task forces charged with developing program guidelines will discuss the initiative at a joint meeting on Friday, August 15.
 
The initiative will build on the Governor’s work with a bipartisan group of legislators and a wide cross-section of stakeholders to develop a program that makes better use of water during the wet winter and spring months to meet instream and out-of-stream water needs during the dry summer and fall. 
 
"We need to support healthy streams and rivers year-round while promoting uses that contribute to a strong, sustainable economy," said Governor Kitzhaber. "These task forces will deal with complex issues and questions, and I have every confidence they'll provide the Legislature and me with scientifically-sound and timely recommendations."
 
This effort represents a major new initiative by the state to meet Oregonians’ water needs while recognizing the challenges created by a growing population, drier and warmer seasons, and declining federal support for infrastructure. Projects that may come out of the initiative include water storage, water reuse, conservation or efficiency projects, and other actions to improve stream health. The program will also establish a financing structure to help leverage private investment and create jobs through the new projects.
 
Task force members represent diverse interests, including the ranching and farming sectors, environmental organizations, and civic and tribal groups.
 
The first task force will develop recommendations for the Oregon Water Resources Commission on guidelines for projects that store winter and spring stream flows. The task force also will recommend criteria for deciding when state funds should be used to support those projects. The task force is expected to make its recommendations later this year.
 
The second task force will review the structure of the program and how the state can support water supply projects. This task force is expected to make its recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature later this year.
 
The joint task force meeting will be held at the Oregon Water Resources Department on Friday, August 15, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. OWRD is located at 725 Summer Street NE, room 124, in Salem. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, including a roster of task force participants, please visit:
 

 
Media Contact:
Rachel Wray, 503-559-1277
Melissa Navas, 503-378-6496
 

 

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