RiverAction: Help Oregon’s Rivers! Act today to fund WRD! 5/2009

RiverAction: Help Oregon’s Rivers! Act today to fund WRD! 5/2009

Two critical bills to ensure adequate funding for the Water Resources Department will be heard on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Adequate funding of the Water Resources Department is critical to the proper management of our rivers, streams and underground aquifers.

Two critical bills to ensure adequate funding for the Water Resources Department will be heard on Tuesday, June 2nd.

Please act today! Please contact the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee members before Tuesday and urge them to:

  • Support SB 788 (with amendments)
  • Support SB 740 (with amendments)
  •  Support a 75% cost recovery fee for the Water Resources Department. 

Background:  Adequate funding for the Water Resources Department is critical to proper management of the state’s water.

In these challenging times, state agencies are especially vulnerable, particularly those agencies that rely heavily on the General Fund.

The Water Resources Department is excessively dependent on the General Fund. It is facing a large budget shortfall that, without action, will result in the loss of important water management capacities.
Reasonable new fees and a higher margin of cost recovery on existing water transactions could help close the gap and preserve some of this capacity.

Please contact your legislators to register support for:

SB 788:  This bill would establish a $250 recording fee for certain exempt groundwater uses (lawn watering, group/single domestic, industrial/commercial). Monies generated from this fee could only be used to fund groundwater studies, carry out ground water monitoring, and to carry out administration and enforcement relating to exempt wells.

SB 740: This bill would charge a modest $50.00 fee per water right per year to holders of water rights to help recoup part of the expense of managing the system of water rights in Oregon. A cap of $400 would apply except for institutional entities like cities and irrigation districts, in which case the cap would be $1,600 regardless of the number of rights held. There are approximately 85,000 water rights of record in Oregon. Full compliance (not likely) would generate approximately $2,125,000 per year for the OWRD.

75% cost recovery for processing services:  Currently WRD only recovers 30% of the cost of water transactions. Increasing cost recovery to 75% would bring the WRD an estimated $2,000,000 in the 2009-2011 biennium.  This increase is reasonable.  Oregon taxpayers are currently footing most the bill for private water users to have their water right transactions processed by the state.

Please act today!  If you value Oregon’s rivers, we cannot overstate the importance to our rivers and streams that adequate funding of the Water Resources Department provides.

If you are a constituent of any member of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee, particularly the co-chairs, please e-mail them today to lend your support to these important bills and cost recovery options.

Click here to find your legislators

Legislative Contact Information:
Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources:

Sen. Vicki Walker, co-chair: sen.vickiwalker (at) state.or.us
Rep. Bob Jenson, co-chair: rep.bobjenson (at) state.or.us
Sen. Jackie Dingfelder: sen.jackiedingfelder (at) state (dot) or (dot) us
Sen. David Nelson: sen.davidnelson (at) state (dot) or (dot) us
Rep. Peter Buckley: rep.peterbuckley (at) state (dot) or (dot) us
Rep. Ben Cannon: rep.bencannon (at) state (dot) or (dot) us
Rep. Brian Clem: rep.brianclem (at) state (dot) or (dot) us
Rep. Chris Edwards: rep.chrisedwards (at) state (dot) or (dot) us
Rep. Jim Thompson: rep.jimthompson (at)  state (dot) or (dot) us

For the proposed amendments, or any other information, please contact:

John DeVoe, WaterWatch of Oregon, john (at) waterwatch (dot) org
Kimberley Priestley, WaterWatch of Oregon, kjp (at) waterwatch (dot) org
Dave Moskowitz, Confluence Consulting, dmosk (at) confluenceconsultingnw (dot) com
TAKE ACTION!

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