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Agricultural Water Management
Preparation of water management and conservation plans by irrigation districts and other agricultural water suppliers is largely voluntary. However, districts with plans approved by the Water Resources Department are able to take advantage of statutory provisions that allow the transfer of water rights from one district user to another to prevent forfeiture of the rights because of non-use.

Under the conservation planning program, agricultural water suppliers examine their supply, demand, future needs, and water conservation tools. By using this process, districts and other suppliers can create a "water budget" for their current and future needs. This water budget, along with projected future demands on the system, help to clarify how much water is needed to meet current and future needs. Application of appropriate conservation tools also may lead to an increase in available water supplies to better meet the patrons´ crop demands.

In addition to preparing water management and conservation plans that meet state requirements, districts that contract for water from Federal water projects are required to develop conservation plans under Section 210(b) of the Reclamation Reform Act. Department staff coordinate review of the water management and conservation plans with Bureau of Reclamation staff and their review of the plans under the federal requirements.

Program Implementation
In 2007, the Department partnered with the Oregon Water Resources Congress (OWRC) on a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The grant funded the development of a new guidebook for Agricultural Water Management and Conservation Plan and a sample plan.
The guidebook (PDF 3.7 MB) provides an educational tool to district managers, board members, and patrons so that they can develop a better understanding of their water supplies, use, and delivery systems. This, in turn, will enable districts to use this information to plan, design, and implement changes to their system to better manage and conserve water and meet future supply challenges.
Funding for this project is through a grant from the BOR and the preparation of the guide was done through a contract with OSU.  The steering committee for review of the guide book was comprised of staff from the BOR, Water Resources Congress, West Extension Irrigation District, North Unit Irrigation District, Talent Irrigation District, Ochoco Irrigation District, Rogue River Valley Irrigation District, Santiam Water Control District and Middle Fork Irrigation District.

Links and Resources
Agricultural Water Management and Conservation Planning Guidebook (PDF 3.7 MB)
Bureau of Reclamation Pacific Northwest Region Conservation Program
Agricultural Planning Program, Program Overview and Diagram brochure (PDF 254 KB)

ORS 536.027 and ORS 540.572
OAR 690-410-0060 and Chapter 690, Division 086