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 at a local and landscape level. 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 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 other water quality goals are met on agricultural lands as described under a 2012 Memorandum of Agreement. DEQ and ODA are working to update the MOA and are offering a public input opportunity on the draft updated MOA from Aug. 22, 2022 through Sept. 21, 2022.
ODA is responsible for implementing the Agricultural Water Quality Management Act through development and implementation of area plans and rules (this link takes you to the ODA website).
DEQ participates in ODA's effort to review and revise Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plans consistent with ORS568.930
Drinking Water Resources Updates for Agricultural Water Quality Management Areas
As part of an ongoing commitment to combatting nonpoint source pollution and safeguarding drinking water source areas for communities, DEQ works closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture on water quality issues.
ODA is responsible for developing plans to prevent and control water pollution from agricultural activities and soil erosion on rural lands. DEQ provides drinking water information to ODA to help facilitate this work.
Drinking water resources in ODA management areas are identified in these updates to make Local Advisory Committees aware of these resources near agricultural practices. Like residential onsite waste water systems, forestry, and industrial processes, agricultural practices have the potential to impact drinking water source areas for public water systems and private wells.
Drinking Water Resources Updates for Agricultural Water Quality Management Areas:
The ODA management area plans and more information about the program can be found on the ODA website.