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Place-Based Integrated Water Resources Planning

Oregon's 2012 Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) recommended that the Department help places undertake a collaborative, integrated approach to water planning. The Department published Draft Planning Guidelines in 2015 that provide a framework for place-based integrated water resources planning (“place-based water planning") - a voluntary, locally initiated and led effort, involving a balanced representation of water interests who work in partnership with the state to understand and meet their instream and out-of-stream water supply needs.

Planning Process and Draft Planning Guidelines

The 2015 DRAFT Place-Based Planning Guidelines provide key planning principles and a five-step process:2015_February_Draft_Place_Based_Guidelines_Page_01.png

  1. Build a collaborative and inclusive process
  2. Gather information to understand water resources and identify knowledge gaps
  3. Examine current and future water needs for people, the economy, and the environment
  4. Identify and prioritize strategic, integrated solutions to meet water needs
  5. Develop and implement a place-based integrated water resources plan

Four Planning Groups Participate in a Pilot Phase

In 2015, the Department received legislative authority (ORS 536-220) and initial funding of $750,000 to begin a water planning pilot-phase. In 2016 four planning areas began testing the Draft Planning Guidelines: the Upper Grande Ronde Sub-BasinLower John Day Sub-BasinMid-Coast Region, and the Harney Basin.

PBP Area.jpg 

The Department has been a partner by providing technical and planning assistance to the communities, and planning grants totaling $1,200,000.  In 2022 the Water Resources Commission recognized the importance of three Final Plans that followed the key planning principles and Draft Planning Guidelines:

Upper Grande Ronde Plan         Pages from Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership Water Action Plan May 2022.png          LowerJohnDay_FinalPLan_May2022_Page_001.png

State-support of the four pilot-phase planning groups will continue with grant awards of $250,000 each in federal American Recovery Plan Act funds to support implementation of the state-recognized plans and help the Harney Basin group complete an integrated plan. 

Independent Evaluation of the Pilot Phase

In 2021, the Department contracted with the National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) at Portland State University to conduct an independent evaluation of the pilot phase. NPCC designed a participatory program evaluation approach involving the four planning groups and including the state agency partners. NPCC published its report of findings (McLain et al April 27, 2022) which is informing the State-Supported Regional Planning and Management Work Group, established in 2021 by House Bill 5006, and the Department's 2023 Water Planning Legislative Concept (LC 544).

More Information

The Department is providing more than $1.2 million in grants to support the current place-based water planning efforts. The Department does not have funding to support additional places at this time. For more information visit the Department's Planning webpage.

For more information about the Department's other funding opportunities, visit the Water Resources Development Program webpage​.

Place-based integrated water resources planning is rooted in the idea that place matters, that water management activities should be integrated and coordinated, and that planning can help the people of Oregon collectively envision and chart a path towards a more balanced and secure water future.

Place-Based: Orients knowledge, decisions, and actions around the specific context of a place in a way that recognizes and strengthens the connection between people and place and empowers people to work together to achieve a shared vision of that place.

Integrated Water Resources: An approach that "promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment." Global Water Partnership

Planning: A process used to align people, information, ideas, and resources, in order to 1) identify and understand an issue, need, or opportunity that requires action, 2) envision desired future outcomes, 3) develop and evaluate strategies and actions to achieve the desired outcomes, 4) implement agreed upon strategies and actions, and 5) monitor, evaluate, and adapt as needed.​