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Municipal Water Management
The Conservation Corner

Status of the Municipal WMCP Guidebook Update

Since the last status report in The Conservation Corner (April 2014), the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has made significant progress in its endeavor to update the OAR Chapter 690, Division 86 Municipal Water Management and Conservation Plan guidebook.  A draft of the guidebook update is currently out for comment by a review team consisting of staff from League of Oregon Cities, Oregon Association of Water Utilities, and Special Districts Association of Oregon, as well as representatives from the municipal water supplier community, water right consulting firms, and engineers working in the water industry.  OWRD anticipates receiving feedback and comments from the review team by the end of July and plans to finalize the guidebook update by the end of 2014.

Contact:  Lisa Jaramillo, (503)986-0880 or Lisa.J.Jaramillo@wrd.state.or.us.


Registrations of Reclaimed Municipal Water Use (Recycled Water)

Beginning in the mid-1970s, municipalities were faced with increased pressure to either stop discharging effluent into streams or to treat their effluent to produce a much higher quality of water that could be discharged. In response to these pressures, during the 1991 legislative session OWRD, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and municipal effluent dischargers joined together to support passage of legislation [codified in ORS 537.131, 537.132 and 540.610(2)(h)].  These laws allow municipal effluent to be reused (or recycled) for irrigation or for other beneficial uses without a water right, provided that the effluent is treated and discharged under either a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) or Water Pollution Control Facilities (WPCF) permit issued by DEQ.  Click here to find out more.

The Municipal Water Management and Conservation Planning program provides a process for municipal water suppliers to develop plans to meet future water needs. Many municipal water suppliers are required to prepare plans under water right permit conditions. In addition, with the revision of the permit extension rules in fall 2002, communities seeking long-term permit extensions will be required to prepare plans. These plans will be used to demonstrate the communities´ needs for increased diversions of water under the permits as their demands grow.

A municipal plans provides a description of the water system, identifies the sources of water used by the community, and explains how the water supplier will manage and conserve supplies to meet future needs. Preparation of a plan is intended to represent a pro-active evaluation of the management and conservation measures that suppliers can undertake. The planning program requires municipal water suppliers to consider water that can be saved through conservation practices as a source of supply to meet growing demands if the saved water is less expensive that developing new supplies. As such, a plan represents an integrated resource management approach to securing a community´s long-term water supply.

Many of the elements required in a plan are also required under similar plans by the Drinking Water Section of the state Department of Human Services (water system master plans) and Department of Land Conservation and Development (public facilities plans). Water providers can consolidate overlapping plan elements and create a single master plan that meets the requirements of all three programs. The state agencies involved in oversight and funding of community water supply projects have developed the Guidelines for Community Water Project Planning (PDF 996 KB) to aid in preparation of these plans.

Program Implementation
The Water Resources Department anticipates receiving as many as 200 municipal water management and conservation plans within the next three years. These plans will be submitted to comply with the requirements under the permit extension process and to secure Department authorization for increased diversion under extended permits.

To aid municipal suppliers in preparing plans and complying with the updated rules, the League of Oregon Cities (LOC), in cooperation with the Oregon Water Utility Council and Special Districts Association, commissioned preparation of a guidebook for developing water management and conservation plans. The guidebook may be ordered or downloaded at LOC´s publications site. LOC also sponsored three workshops (PDF 2.2 MB) to give community water providers guidance on using the manual.

Water Resources Department staff also have conducted workshops to assist communities in preparation of water management and conservation plan. The most recent workshop (PDF 1.5 MB) was held in Bend in 2001. The plan matrix (PDF 135 KB) prepared by Department staff also provides information on plan content and is in the format of the checklist that staff use when reviewing plans

Water Conservation Materials
The Department has updated our brochures for water conservation and updated and expanded the model water curtailment ordinance. Use and reproduction of these materials is free.
Indoor Water Use - A Guide to Water Conservation (PDF 249 KB)
Outdoor Water Use - A Guide to Water Conservation (PDF 298 KB)
How to Produce a Lawn-Watering Guide - A Guide to Water Conservation (PDF 390 KB)
Saving Water Energy and Fish (PDF 339 KB)
A Water Conservation Guide for Commercial Institutional and Industrial Users (PDF 2.2 MB)
Courtesy of the New Mexico Water Use and Conservation Bureau, July 1999
Model Water Curtailment Measures for Municipal and Quasi-Municipal Water Utilities (PDF 144 KB)

Links and Resources
League of Oregon Cities Planning Guidebook
LOC Municipal WMCP Workshop Slides (PDF 2.2 MB)
Water Management and Conservation Plan Matrix (PDF 135 KB)
WRD Municipal WMCP Workshop Slides - 2001 (PDF 1.5 MB)
Guidelines for Community Water Project Planning (PDF 996 KB)


ORS 536.027and ORS 537.210
OAR 690-410-0060, Chapter 690, Division 086 and OAR 690-315-0090