Oregon is facing increasing water demand and increasingly scarce water supplies. To adequately meet Oregon’s diverse water demands now and into the future, Oregonians must use their water wisely and efficiently. That means looking more closely at innovative water conservation and reuse programs and environmentally sound storage projects that capture available water so it can be put to good use when needed.
Across the state, there are numerous potential water supply projects that are not pursued because a lack of funds necessary to cover the up-front costs presents a considerable and often insurmountable barrier. “Up-front costs” may include hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct the numerous feasibility studies and environmental analyses required before a project can begin. To meet this challenge, in 2008 the Oregon Legislature established the Water Conservation, Reuse and Storage Grant Program to be administered by Oregon Water Resources Department.
The Oregon Water Resources Department has $750,000 available for funding under the Water Conservation, Reuse and Storage Grant Program (Program). The Program provides match funding for project planning studies performed to evaluate the feasibility of developing a water conservation, reuse or storage project (OAR 690-600) These funds are available on a competitive basis to a local government, an Indian tribe, or a person.
The Department requests that application for funding be limited to a maximum of $250,000. Funding recipients will be required to demonstrate funding from another source that is not less than a dollar-for-dollar match of the amount of Program funding requested (i.e., at least $25,000 from another source to match the $25,000 in Program funds requested). To be considered for funding, applications must be received at the Department’s Salem office between August 15 and November 1, 2013. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications prior to the November 1, 2013 deadline.
To be eligible for funding -- applicants must clearly demonstrate funding from a source other than the Program of not less than a dollar-for-dollar match. For example, if $25,000 is requested in Program Funds, then there must be a match of at least $25,000 from another source. The matching funds must be secured or in the process of being secured.
For a project planning study associated with a proposed storage project that would: a) Impound surface water on a perennial stream; b) Divert water from a stream that supports sensitive, threatened or endangered fish; or c) Divert more than 500 acre-feet of surface water annually, the proposed project planning study must contain the following elements:
*Analyses of by-pass, optimum peak, flushing and other ecological flows of the affected stream and the impact of the storage project on those flows;
*Comparative analyses of alternative means of supplying water, including but not limited to the costs and benefits of conservation and efficiency alternatives and the extent to which long-term water supply needs may be met using those alternatives;
*Analyses of environmental harm or impacts from the proposed storage project;
*Evaluation of the need for and feasibility of using stored water to augment in-stream flows to conserve, maintain and enhance aquatic life, fish life and any other ecological values; and
*For a proposed storage project that is for municipal use, analysis of local and regional water demand and the proposed storage project’s relationship to existing and planned water supply projects.