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Malheur Lake Basin


​Receive announcements about the Malheur Lake Basin and the Groundwater Study by signing up to the Department's list-serve: ​​http://eepurl.com/b90Y5n​ 

The next Gr​o​undwater Study Advisory Committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 17 at the Harney Education Service District (25 Fairview Heights Loop) from 10am-4pm. Click here​ to view the press release.

Follow the Malheur Lake Basin place-based planning process on the Watershed Council's website: www.hcwatershedcouncil.com/community-based-water-planning​

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Integrated Water Resources Planning

In June 2016 the Harney County Watershed Council was awarded a grant to undertake place-based integrated water resources planning in partnership with the Oregon Water Resources Department. This is a locally led collaborative process co-convened by the Harney County Watershed Council and the Harney County Court. 

For more information about the place-based planning program, click here​
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Groundwater Study

OWRD is expanding its data collection efforts in the Malheur Lake Basin, specifically in and around the Greater Harney Valley Area, because of concern for declining groundwater levels. Part of OWRD's mission is to ensure sufficient water supplies for current and future needs. Over the next five yearOWRD is partnering with the US Geological Society to complete a comprehensive groundwater study to better understand groundwater resources in the Greater Harney Valley.

In June 2016 OWRD and the Harney County Court solicited letters of interest and appointed individuals to a Groundwater Study Advisory Committee. Click here​ for the Charter, which includes a list of the Advisory Committee members.

July 17, 2018 DRAFT ​Agenda​
​April 17, 2018 Agenda DRAFT ​Meeting Summary​ Presentation - Crop Evapotranspiration
Presentation - Water Budget
Presentation​ - Isotope Analysis
January 18, 2018 Agenda Meeting Summary​ Presentation - Water Budget
Presentation - Hydrogeologic Terms and Concepts
​October 17, 2017 Agenda​ ​Meeting Summary​ Presentation - Climate and Hydrology
Presentation - OWRD Updates
July 18, 2017 Agenda Meeting Summary Presentation - Past studies in the Harney Basin
Presentation​ - Groundwater Study Updates
Spring 2017 Hydrographs​
April 20, 2017​ ​​Agenda​​
GW Level Poste​rs​
Meeting Summary Presentation - Basic Hydrogeology of a Closed Basin System
Presentation - Field Work Update​
Well Level Hydrographs (Synoptic Wells, Recorder Wells, Permit Condition Wells, 2015 Open House​)
Presentation - Observation Well Drilling Update
Presentation - Well Construction and Water Rights
​January 19, 2017 Agenda​
Meeting Summary​ Presentation - Measuring Groundater Levels in Wells
October 20, 2016 Agenda​ Meeting Summary​ Presentation - Investigation of the Groundwater System of Harney County
​July 27, 2016 Agenda​
Well Netork Map​
Meeting Summary​ Presentation - Groundwater Study Purpose and Introduction
​USGS-OWRD Harney Basin Data Mapper ​An online tool to visualize water data in the Harney Basin.
​USGS Web-Page for the Harney Groundwater Study ​Provides an overview and links to information relevant to the Harney Groundwater Study. Link​
​Harney Groun​d​wat​er Stud​y ​​Plan of Study ​- December 20​​​16 ​Outlines the work to be performed by the USGS and OWRD through the Groundwater Study.​​​ PDF (516 KB)​
​OWRD Groundwater Site Information System  ​Well data maintained online by OWRD. Link
Community Groundwater Level Monitoring Materials Materials to assist community members in collecting groundwater level data.
Packet of Field Sheets
Goals/Steps Field Sheet
Well ID Field Sheet
GW Level Field Sheet​
​USGS Glossary of Terms ​A glossary of hydrogeologic terms maintained by the USGS. Link
​Select References ​A list with links of scientific work conducted in the Harney Basin. Link
​USGS Groundwater Technical Procedures ​The techniques and methods used to measure groundwater levels. Link
​2015 Commission Staff Report, Presentation, and DRAFT Memo ​The materials that were developed to demonstrate the need for rulemaking and a groundwater study in the Harney Basin. Staff Report
​OWRD Groundwater Open House ​May 2015​​ ​​A copy of the presentation that was delivered in May 2015 describing the groundwater situation. PDF​ (6.28 MB)​

For more information, contact:

Jerry Grondin
Hydrogeologist Resume​
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Basin Program Rules

The Basin Program describes how water in Malheur Lake Basin may be used. The original rules were adopted in 1990. Modifications to the rules were adopted in 2016. A summary of the original rules and updates are provided in the table below.

Year​ ​Summary ​​Link
​2016 Establishes the Greater Ha​rney Valley Groundwater Area of Concern. Provides flexibility f​or addressing pending ​groundwater applications while OWRD is conducting a ​five-year groundwater study. Link​
​1990 ​Describes that new uses may only be allowed if water is available. Exceptions include uses for an instream right, a permit to store water between March 1 and May 31, use of stored water or a multi-purpose storage project authorized under OAR-690-512-0100. The Malheur Lake Basin Program also establishes minimum stream flows and reserves water for future economic development in the Home Creek sub-basin.
For more information, contact your District 10 watermaster​
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Studies, Reports, and Other Resources

Year​ ​Author​(s) ​​Title ​​Link
2001 Taylor and Alley (USGS) ​Groundwate​​r Level Monitoring and the Importance of Long-Term Water-Level Data ​PDF (8.57 MB)
​1975 Hubbard (USGS) ​H​ydrology of Malheur Lake, Harney County, Southeastern Oregon ​​PDF (14.6 MB)
​1970 ​Leonard (USGS) ​Groundwater Resources in Harney Valley, Harney County, OR PDF (21.8 MB)
​1967 ​OWRD ​Malheur Lake Basin Report PDF​ (10 MB)
​1967 Carnahan et al. (USDA)​ ​USDA Report on Water and Related Land Resources - Malheur Lake Drainage Basin, Oregon ​PDF​ (9.14 MB)
​1939 ​Piper, Robison, and Park Jr. (USGS) Geology and Groundwater Resources of the Harney Basin ​PDF (8.9 MB)
​1909 ​Waring (USGS) ​Geology and the Water Resources of the Harney Basin Region, Oregon PDF​ (2.6 MB)​
For staff reports pertaining to the Malheur Lake Basin, click here.
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