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Place-Based Integrated Water Resources Planning

A photo of the Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) Publication

Oregon's Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) recommends that the Department help places undertake a collaborative, integrated approach to water planning. Place-based integrated water resources planning (also known as place-based water planning) is a voluntary, locally initiated and led effort, in which a balanced representation of water interests work in partnership with the state to understand and meet their instream and out-of-stream water supply needs. In 2015 the Department developed Guidelines that provide a framework for planning. The Department is a partner in these planning efforts and also provides financial, technical, and planning assistance to the communities testing the Guidelines.

Updates and Announcements

Planning Assessment

A photo of Place-Based Planning Group Update handout

The Department has initiated a Planning Assessment that will take place in 2020-2021 and will include an evaluation of place-based integrated water resources planning. The results of the Assessment will be used to guide future approaches and support for water resources planning efforts.

The scope of the Planning Assessment was described to the Water Resources Commission in June 2020. Click here to view the presentation.

Programmatic and Place-Based Updates

The Department provides updates every six months to track programmatic and place-based accomplishments. Click on the links below to trace progress since the program began in 2016.

From Plan to Action Virtual Conversations

As the planning groups begin to complete plans and think about their transition to implementation, we are coordinating a series of informal conversations to learn from others. These virtual conversations are held on the second Tuesday at lunch time. Click on the handouts below to see the line-up and register for an upcoming conversation.

  1. The first series, which focuses on communication, outreach, and engagement was held from September to January. View the handout describing this series, with links to recordings.
  2. The second series, which focuses on key ingredients for successful implementation, kicked off in April. We are learning from integrated planning efforts in other states, including Washington, Colorado, California and Texas. View the handout describing this series, with links to recordings.

More Information

The place-based water planning process follows a set of key planning principles and five planning steps outlined in the 2015 DRAFT Place-Based Planning Guidelines​​


Planning Principles

  • Locally-initiated and led collaborative effort
  • Voluntary, non-regulatory process
  • Includes a balanced representation of water interests (both instream and out-of-stream)
  • Conducted in partnership with the state
  • Addresses current and future instream and out-of-stream needs
  • Looks at water quantity, quality and ecosystem needs in an integrated approach
  • Creates an open and transparent process that fosters public participation
  • Builds on and integrates existing studies and plans
  • Does not infringe on existing water rights
  • Adheres to the IWRS principles and state laws

Planning Steps

  1. Build a collaborative and inclusive process
  2. Gather information to understand water resources and identify gaps in knowledge
  3. Examine current and future water needs for people, the economy, and the environment
  4. Identify and prioritize strategic, integrated solutions to meet water needs
  5. Develop and implement a place-based integrated water resources plan

The Department is providing more than $1.2 million in grants to support the current place-based water planning efforts. The Department does not have funding to support additional places at this time. For more information visit the Department's Planning webpage.

For more information about the Department's other funding opportunities, visit the Water Resources Development Program webpage​.

The following four areas have been awarded grant funding from the Oregon Water Resources Department and are undertaking a place-based, integrated approach to water planning in partnership with the State consistent with the 2015 DRAFT Place-Based Planning Guidelines. This new program is currently in a pilot phase. The planning approach and Guidelines will be evaluated and modified based on what is learned from the planning efforts​.

Place-based integrated water resources planning is rooted in the idea that place matters, that water management activities should be integrated and coordinated, and that planning can help the people of Oregon collectively envision and chart a path towards a more balanced and secure water future.

Place-Based: Orients knowledge, decisions, and actions around the specific context of a place in a way that recognizes and strengthens the connection between people and place and empowers people to work together to achieve a shared vision of that place.

Integrated Water Resources: An approach that "promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment." Global Water Partnership

Planning: A process used to align people, information, ideas, and resources, in order to 1) identify and understand an issue, need, or opportunity that requires action, 2) envision desired future outcomes, 3) develop and evaluate strategies and actions to achieve the desired outcomes, 4) implement agreed upon strategies and actions, and 5) monitor, evaluate, and adapt as needed.​