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Oregon Water Vision


We All Need Water

We all need water to thrive. Our communities, fish and wildlife, and economies all depend on it. Several major challenges exist to maintaining Oregon’s water supply and improving and protecting water quality. As identified in Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy, some of the stressors on Oregon’s water and water systems include:

  1. Climate change
  2. Underinvestment in infrastructure
  3. Changing populations and development
  4. Not enough water to meet all needs

In response to these challenges, the Governor’s Natural Resources Office and state agencies listened, learned, and gathered information about water concerns and goals for the state. In 2020, Oregon’s 100-year Water Vision was released.

Our Shared Vision

To address changes in climate and population dynamics, Oregonians will take care of our water to ensure we have enough clean water for our people, our economy, and our environment, now and for future generations. Oregonians will invest strategically in infrastructure and ecosystems across all regions to support resilient communities, vibrant local economies, and a healthy environment for all who live here.

Goals

Each goal below is important. No single goal can be fully realized independent of the others. Recognizing that tension, we need to invest in a range of innovative solutions that work in balance for our shared water future.

​Water should be fishable, swimmable, and drinkable. Investments in ecosystem health, and built and natural infrastructure will provide reliable access to clean water.

​Diverse and resilient agricultural, timber, fishing, hi-tech, energy, and recreation economies require a reliable and clean water supply. Investments in built and natural water infrastructure will support high quality jobs across all Oregon communities.

​Cool, clean water and healthy forests, wetlands, riparian areas, streams, and estuaries provide essential natural processes that maintain and enhance water quality for fish and wildlife. Investments in ecosystems also provide recreational opportunities for those who live in and visit Oregon.

​Natural and built water systems designed to protect communities, and increase their resiliency to disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, floods, drought, and sea level rise, are important for all Oregon communities. Investments in those systems will help create safer communities and healthier ecosystems.

 

Investing in Our Water Future

Water use diagram

In 2021, the Oregon Legislature and Governor Kate Brown made historic investments in Oregon’s water resources by passing a $538 million water package. The funding includes a massive investment in drinking water, wastewater, and groundwater infrastructure projects across the state. The funding also invests in fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, natural infrastructure, and the resiliency of natural systems.

The water package also provides one-time funding to develop better access to water data, provide additional water planning support for communities, and expand a system to identify and address local and regional water use needs.

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) is leading the effort to develop a framework and path for state-supported regional water planning and management. For more information and a time frame, visit the State-Supported Regional Water Planning and Management Work Group website. OWRD is also leading the development of a Tribal-State Agency Task Force, which is intended to engage tribes in the implementation of the Water Vision.

State agencies are also working to ensure that natural infrastructure is eligible for funding. Natural infrastructure is the strategic use of natural and working lands to meet infrastructure needs and was identified as a key investment strategy in the 100-year Water Vision.

The Governor’s Office continues to work with state agencies to advance the water vision, collaborate on water issues, and identify future resource needs.