House approves Oregon water, conservation projects

House approves Oregon water, conservation projects

Associated Press
July 23, 2007


WASHINGTON – The House unanimously approved a bill Monday boosting four Oregon water conservation and dam safety projects.

The Oregon Water Resources Management Act, sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., addresses projects in southern, eastern and central Oregon. The measure was approved by the House last year, but was not taken up in the Senate.

“These acts provide important tools to help balance land use, conservation and public safety,” Walden said in a news release. “Proper management of water is one of the most serious issues in many parts of Oregon , and the projects included in this bill see to it that water is handled the right way.”

Walden said he would work with Oregon ‘s two senators to ensure the legislation gets to the president’s desk.

The House bill combines four pieces of legislation:

– The Deschutes River Conservancy Reauthorization Act authorizes up to $2 million a year in federal assistance for water conservation measures in the Deschutes River Basin .

– The North Unit Irrigation District provides farmers and ranchers in a 50,000-acre area in Jefferson County with irrigation water from the Deschutes River . The legislation allows hundreds of farmers and ranchers on 9,000 acres in the district to receive water from the Deschutes River , reducing diversions from the Crooked River .

– The Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation Act authorizes $6 million to help the federal Bureau of Reclamation provide grants or other assistance to repair Wallowa Lake Dam and preserve a water recreation site behind the dam.

– The Little Butte/Bear Creek Subbasins Water Feasibility Act authorizes the bureau to conduct a study on the Little Butte and Bear Creak watersheds as outlined in the Water for Irrigation, Streams and the Economy project.