Recent Press Releases
Statement Regarding Signing of a Klamath Basin Water Agreement April 18, 2014
Although any amount of permanent water demand reduction is a welcome step in the right direction for the Klamath Basin, the claims that the agreement signed today will alone resolve the region’s water wars are simply false. Moreover, joining this water pact with the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) would wipe out its purported gains.
Statement Opposing Measure 26-156 April 1, 2014
As an organization that has worked since 1985 to protect and restore flows in Oregon’s rivers to sustain the native fish, wildlife, and people who depend on healthy rivers, WaterWatch of Oregon strongly opposes Measure 26-156.
Oregon Water Resources Department Denies Water Permit to Willamette Water Company
March 10, 2014
In a victory for the McKenzie River and WaterWatch, the Oregon Water Resources Department issued a final order denying the Willamette Water Company’s controversial application for a permit to withdraw 34 cubic feet per second (22 million gallons per day) from the McKenzie. The state’s decision follows the recommendation issued by an administrative law judge in April of 2012.
Statement Regarding Announcement of a Klamath Basin Water Agreement
March 5, 2014
WaterWatch encourages and supports the continued progress of negotiations between The Klamath Tribes and off-Project irrigators regarding upper basin water issues. However, it is clear that the amount of water demand reduction identified in the agreement announced today will provide only a fraction of the water necessary to achieve a sustainable level of farm and fisheries production in the severely over-allocated Klamath Basin.
Conservationists, Fishing Interests Respond to U.S. Treaty Recommendation for Columbia River
December 13, 2013
Northwest conservation groups and the fishing community response to the final recommendation issued by the Bonneville Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand the purposes of the Columbia Treaty to include ecosystem function. Treaty decisions will have far-reaching impacts on the region’s environment, economy, and culture.
Victory for Oregon’s Rivers in Court of Appeals Ruling on Cottage Grove Water Right December 11, 2013
The Court of Appeals handed down a victory for the state’s irreplaceable rivers and fish populations, with a ruling overturning the City of Cottage Grove’s municipal water right certificate. WaterWatch staff attorney Lisa Brown successfully argued the case, resulting in a precedent-setting decision that closes a harmful loophole, and affirms protections for salmon, steelhead, and other fish.
Conservationists and Fishing Community Support Inclusion of Ecosystem Function in Modernized Columbia River Treaty December 9, 2013
In response to Rep. Hastings’ Congressional hearing in Pasco, WA on the Columbia River Treaty, Northwest conservationists, fishing groups, and businesses encouraged the State Department to move forward with negotiations with Canada to modernize the Columbia River Treaty.
Statement on Introduction of Crooked River Collaborative Water Security Act of 2013 November 21, 2013
WaterWatch statement of support for the Crooked River Collaborative Water Security Act of 2013, a framework for improving water management in the Crooked River. The legislation is based on an agreement that Senators Merkley and Wyden facilitated among a broad coalition of stakeholders, including WaterWatch.
Lawsuit Filed Against Forest Service Permit for City of Bend Water Project November 14, 2013
Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch of Oregon filed a lawsuit today in the Oregon Federal District Court seeking an injunction to prevent the U.S. Forest Service from authorizing the City of Bend to begin construction of a new pipeline that will allow for greatly increased water withdrawals from Tumalo Creek.
Recent Press Clips
Say ‘No’ on water district measure: Editorial endorsement, The Oregonian Editorial Board, April 12, 2014
Ballot Measure 26-156 falls short in too many ways, and poses accountability riddles of its own, to do any good – indeed, it could bring harm. Voters should reject it. The projects it cites as proof of runaway spending are appalling for their symbolic value but in reality play only a bit part in driving rates up. The measure is the wrong solution to a City Hall problem only now finding definition.
As Portland’s largest water users bankroll utility district campaign, opponents question who benefits, Oregonian, March 28, 2014
The biggest user of water in Portland is also the largest financial backer of a May ballot measure to strip utility rate-setting responsibility from the Portland City Council.
EPA introduces stream and wetlands rule, Bend Bulletin, March 26, 2014
WaterWatch hails EPA announcement as welcome news for Oregon’s small streams, which are important for fish, wildlife and people.
Protecting the McKenzie, Eugene Register Guard Editorial, March 18, 2014
The Willamette Water Co.’s application was not in the best interests of the McKenzie River. Nor was it in the best interest of the many Oregonians who love, use and are determined to protect one of the state’s most iconic waterways.
State rejects water rights bid, Register-Guard, March 15, 2014
Capping a McKenzie River water rights dispute that has dragged on for more than five years, the State Water Resources Department formally has rejected a Lane County company’s effort to secure rights to a big portion of the river’s flow.
Bend begins water project, Bend Bulletin, March 14, 2014
The contractor, M.A. Mortenson Construction, has been preparing to begin construction since mid-February. Meanwhile, the project is still in litigation. Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch of Oregon filed a federal lawsuit in November against the U.S. Forest Service, which issued a permit for the project. A federal judge has not reached a decision on the lawsuit.
Controversial McKenzie Water Permit Denied, Eugene Weekly, March 13, 2014
Though speculating on water is illegal, WaterWatch of Oregon says Willamette Water Company was looking to do just that back in 2008 when it applied for a permit to withdraw 22 million gallons per day from the McKenzie River. On March 7, the Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) issued a final order denying the Willamette Water Co.’s controversial application to control a large amount of the McKenzie’s water.
State Denies McKenzie River Water Rights Application, KLCC, March 11, 2014
The Veneta-based Willamette Water Company applied for rights to 34 cfs – or about 22 million gallons per day – from the McKenzie River. In 2012, after a challenge from conservation group Water Watch of Oregon, an administrative law judge ruled the permit should be turned down because the company had not identified immediate customers for the water. The Oregon Water Resources Department agreed with that ruling late last week.
Klamath Tribes And Ranchers Seek Water Solutions In New Agreement, OPB, March 5, 2014
WaterWatch warns the agreement doesn’t go far enough in limiting the amount of water that people will want to withdraw — water that others want to remain in streams to help fish and wildlife.
Groups seek to remove old dams on Evans Creek, Mail Tribune, March 2, 2014
Two of Oregon’s worst wild fish barriers could be removed from Evans Creek as early as the summer of 2015 under a WaterWatch-led plan to open as much as 70 miles of prime spawning habitat.
Giving nature a jolt, Herald & News, March 2, 2014
Endangered Lost River and shortnose sucker may experience a boost in populations after two hydroelectric facilities on the Link River are decommissioned this month.
Bend water project foes won’t appeal ruling, KTVZ, February 14, 2014
Opponents of Bend’s planned $23 million water pipeline replacement project said Saturday they won’t appeal a federal judge’s ruling allowing the work to start, and instead will prepare for a later court hearing, focusing on their objections to the rest of the project at the city’s water-intake facility by Bridge Creek.
Second fish due for removal from endangered list, Associated Press, February 13, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the Modoc sucker no longer is in danger of extinction after nearly 30 years of recovery efforts.
In My View: The city is the cause of its own mistakes, Bend Bulletin, January 25, 2014
Attorney and Central Oregon LandWatch board member Charlie Ringo argues that the City of Bend should follow the law and not spend substantial sums of money on water projects before it gets the necessary approvals.
Parties To Negoiate Future of Bend’s Water, OPB, January 23, 2014
During a hearing on Thursday at U.S. District Court in Eugene, parties involved in a fight over the future of Bend’s water supply announced that they have agreed to enter settlement talks.
After the Flood, Earth Island Journal, Winter 2014
Dams across the United States are being decommissioned and rivers restored to their natural flow. As scientists are learning, tearing down the barriers is just the first step in returning a river to health.
Pipe opponents fire back in Bend surface water suit, Bend Bulletin, January 15, 2014
Environmental groups opposed to Bend’s proposed surface water improvement project argue the city is attempting “to create a crisis where there is none” in a response filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene Monday.
Cottage Grove considers appeal, Register-Guard, January 14, 2014
If the city moves forward and appeals to the Oregon Supreme Court, it will be fighting a ruling sought by the Portland advocacy group WaterWatch that limits the Cottage Grove municipal water system to drawing 2 million gallons of water per day from the Row River.
Water fallout in Upper Basin, Herald & News, January 7, 2014
Last week, the Klamath County tax collector’s office sent out refunds to 115,288 acres worth of county landowners who had their water shut off in 2013 after the Klamath Tribes and Klamath Project irrigators made calls for water.