Help Secure Smarter Water Management For Oregon -- Comment Today!

Please support smart water management by registering your support for HB 4069, an important smart water management bill that would grant the state the authority to require reporting of water use.The Oregon Legislature’s newly formed House Water Committee will hold a hearing on HB 4069 this Thursday, February 6, at 8 a.m.

Please join us in asking the House Water Committee to support smart water management by supporting HB 4069.

Write to:

Written testimony should be submitted into the record by Close of Business on Wednesday, February 5, so that it will be in the record for Thursday’s 8 am hearing.  You do not have to show up in person to have your voice heard.  Please personalize your emails and write from your experience (farmer, business owner, angler, boater). Be sure to note that you support HB 4069! Your testimony will be part of the official public record on the bill. 

HB 4069 is a very simple bill.  It would grant the Oregon Water Resources Department the authority to require reporting of water use in instances where the state is already requiring measurement.  This is not a mandate, but rather it provides a tool for the state’s water management toolbox.

Why is this bill important?  Water use measurement and reporting is the cornerstone of smart water management.  It is a basic, common-sense tool that is necessary to provide good data on water use throughout the state, to help water users stay within their legal limits, to promote efficient water use, and to help the state carry out its water management responsibilities. Current law already requires all government entities, including municipalities and irrigation districts to report their water use. Additionally, most new water permits issued since 1993—both surface and ground-- are required to measure and report water use. As to pre-1993 permits, the Department does have broad authority to require measurement of these rights, and is doing so in many places of the state, but it currently lacks equal authority to require reporting of the measurement  data.  This bill would expand the state’s toolbox to allow the Department to require those that are currently measuring to report the information.  This will allow for greater efficiencies with Department’s limited field staff.   

Why it is important that water use data be reported:  Water use data is essential for smart water management in Oregon and a key piece of the state’s water future. Reported data is needed to:

  • Understand surface water availability: Water use data is used to refine  WRD’s water availability model, which is used to evaluate whether new permits  can be issued.
  • Protect existing water right holders from injury in water right transactions:  Historical water use data is used to support injury determinations for proposed water right transfers, permit amendments and voluntary leases.
  • Manage  groundwater:  Water use data is critical to responsible management of Oregon’s groundwaters – for the environment and for drinking water and agriculture.

The importance of water use data has been highlighted in the state’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy.  Measurement and reporting provides a solid foundation for the state to make smart water decisions that help everybody. The data will protect existing water right holders, facilitate planning for future water supplies, help bring accountability and basic equity to Oregon’s water future and help prevent  prevent time consuming and costly conflicts.

Please weigh in today on this common sense water smart management tool by urging the Water Committee to support HB 4069.

Thanks for taking action!!