Some types of growth and development can put strains on Oregon’s rivers by increasing the competition for scarce water resources.

Such issues include:
  • Constant demands by cities and other water users for new water rights
  • Calls for capital intensive and ecologically damaging new water storage projects
  •  Attempts to relax or eliminate existing protections for rivers, fish and instream flows

The water demands of growth are not limited to any one sector of society or the economy. While cities routinely demand more water from our rivers, agriculture also contributes to the problem by demanding, for example, huge volumes of water to support schemes to grow corn in the desert for ethanol production.

Assuming some growth will occur, the questions become how to protect our rivers in the face of growth, how to rationally join land use planning and water use planning, and how to grow responsibly with respect to our rivers and aquifers.

Solutions for Oregon:
  • Implement basic water management tools like water measurement
  •  Make more efficient use of existing water supplies
  •  Reallocate water to higher beneficial uses



WaterWatch works to minimize the impacts of growth and climate change on Oregon’s rivers by promoting water conservation, improving water management, and ground-truthing claims used to support new water storage projects and increased water use.

Government Watch-Dogging

WaterWatch monitors all of the individual water allocation decisions across Oregon for compliance with the law and potential negative effects on our rivers. Our goals are legal compliance, agency accountability, and to ensure that rivers and the public have a voice in decisions affecting our rivers, streams and aquifers.