CORVALLIS, Ore. – Even though it has a reputation for being eternally wet, Oregon faces many water resource challenges, ranging from the impacts of climate change to stream flows, pollution concerns, groundwater protection and many other topics – and it’s one of only two western states that does not have a long-term water supply plan.
As a first step to developing a more cohesive vision for Oregon’s water future, a group of five public forums are being planned around the state with one simple goal – listening to what people have to say.
The forums, which will be held in September and October, are free and open to anyone who wants to provide their viewpoint on what Oregon needs, where the state is going, and what Oregonians want in terms of sustainable water management. Some local leaders and other experts will provide brief presentations.
Called “A Flow Path for the Future of Oregon Water Resources,” the statewide water roundtables will be facilitated discussions among engaged citizens.
“We’re planning to start with brief overviews of the state’s water situation, both statewide and locally, and then seek input about what people think, what they are concerned about and what they believe ought to be done,” said Michael Campana, director of the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University.
“We’ll take this input and advice and use it to help inform the policies, regulatory and infrastructure needs for our future.”
More details about this initiative can be found online at: http://water.oregonstate.edu/roundtables/index.htm. All roundtables will be from noon to 6 p.m., and a box lunch or buffet will be available at each event. The roundtable dates and locations will be:
• Sept. 25: Central Oregon/Bend, Room 117-118 in Cascades Hall, 2600 N.W. College Way, on the OSU Cascades Campus;
• Sept. 30: Coastal Oregon/Newport, the Guin Library Seminar Room in the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, in Newport;
• Oct. 7: Eastern Oregon/Ontario, the Ontario Holiday Inn;
• Oct. 14: Southern Oregon/Medford, the Jackson County Extension auditorium;
• Oct. 21: Western Oregon/Salem, details available later on the web.
Organizers of these events say they plan to produce a report that synthesizes the results of the discussions and would assist the Oregon Water Resources Commission in its development of a strategic water plan for Oregon. They also plan presentations to the commission, state legislature and other interested parties.
The roundtable discussions are sponsored by the OSU Institute for Water and Watersheds; Oregon Sea Grant Extension; Oregon University System Institute for Natural Resources; and the Oregon House Committee on Energy and the Environment.