Study eyes area’s future water needs
The Bureau of Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region will partner with the Oregon Water Resources Department to develop a “Plan of Study” for the Willamette River Basin Study aimed at finding collaborative solutions to future water needs in Oregon.
The basin study is jointly funded by the state and supported under Reclamation’s WaterSMART Basin Study program. For the plan of study, OWRD and Reclamation will equally share $50,000 toward the $100,000 study effort.
The Willamette River Basin supports approximately 75 percent of Oregon’s population and is the fastest growing area in the state. The WRB is about 180 miles long and 100 miles wide and encompasses 11,478 square miles - including 2,950,997 acres in Lane County.
More than 170 varieties of agricultural crops are grown and sold in the basin, which produces more than 40 percent of the state’s gross farm sales, according to agency officials. The basin is also rich in native fish and provides critical habitat for several endangered species. Recreation opportunities are abundant, and the basin is one of the most visited destinations for recreational boaters in Oregon.
The plan of study will assist Reclamation and OWRD to develop the proposed Willamette River Basin Study which will update a previous assessment of basin water demands completed in 2008 and expand it to include an assessment of future demands as a result of climate change. The plan of study is expected to be complete in 2014.
Officials report future study efforts will, “Compile in-stream demands quantified through previous studies, aid the implementation of Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy adopted in 2013 and help evaluate adaptation strategies for securing water in the future,” according to John Redding of the Bureau of Reclamation.
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