The quality of Oregon's surface and groundwater can be affected by many factors and land uses, including agriculture. When properly managed, agricultural activities and lands are not expected to adversely affect water quality. However when improperly managed, agricultural activities impact water quality of streams and drinking water resources. More than 25 percent of Oregon is in agricultural land use (Oregon Department of Agriculture statistics), which means there are millions of acres of land where proper land management can deliver agricultural productivity as well as improve and protect water quality.
DEQ works closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Water Quality Management Program to ensure water quality standards, Total Maximum Daily Loads and nonpoint source pollution goals related to agriculture are met. In January 2023, the agencies completed a collaborative process to update a Memorandum of Agreement that describes coordination efforts on current rules, programs and policies to protect and improve water quality related to agricultural lands and activities.
Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Rules and Plans
ODA is responsible for implementing the Agricultural Water Quality Management Act through development and implementation of area rules and plans to prevent and control water pollution from agricultural activities and soil erosion on rural lands. The ODA management areas, plans and more information about the programs can be found on the ODA website.
DEQ participates in ODA's effort to review and revise Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plans consistent with ORS568.930. During the biennial review process, DEQ provides status and trends reports, information on drinking water resources near agricultural practices and other water quality comments on ODA's area rules and plans.
To view this information for each agricultural area plan review, visit the DEQ Comments and Drinking Water Updates page.