Fagan: Oregon Must Address Water Insecurities
A new report from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office reveals big gaps in the state’s management of water resources. Secretary Shemia Fagan said this basic human need is at risk.
"Our federally recognized tribes are unable to ensure that their people have access to clean water, and across the state we are not immune to the mega-drought that is incapacitating other parts of the western United States. Oregon has a reputation for being rainy and wet. But that is a very western Oregon-centric reputation and I’m here to tell you we need to be very concerned about water security both east and west of the Cascade mountain range.”
The advisory report lays out steps auditors want the Governor and lawmakers to take, like providing a funding strategy for water management agencies, and getting more public feedback on local water decisions. Fagan said one of the biggest issues right now, is there is no statewide plan.
“We do not have a coherent funding strategy or shared priorities. Second, it points out that we don’t have the necessary data to support regional planning needs. Third, the report makes it clear about the lack of broad and diverse community engagement in water decisions. And finally, the report highlights the difficulties our federally recognized tribes in Oregon experience as a result of ongoing industrial agricultural practices that are ecologically inappropriate for Oregon’s water basins."
Additional steps Fagan’s office would like to see from leadership include:
- Develop statewide priorities centered on water security shared by state leadership and agencies to guide holistic and inclusive water decisions
- Connect an actionable and comprehensive state water plan to a regional planning framework to guide water decisions and policy development
- Convene a formal planning and coordination body with diverse and balanced representation to guide the statewide plan and support regional planning needs
- Define the state’s overall role and specific agency roles within a regional framework to support effective planning and implementation and avoid overlap and gaps in service
- Enhance public awareness and understanding of the state’s water challenges
- Improve water data to support strategic decision making
- Adopt a strategic approach to water funding and establish a consistent funding base to support desired outcomes
- Clearly support state agencies tasked with carrying out regulatory responsibilities
Click Here to check out that entire audit.
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