During the 2017 Vision work sessions, water was identified by the community as a priority for strategic planning.  In May and June, during our 2018 road show series, water conservation ideas or other strategies related to water resources will be a topic of discussion.

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) manages water supply needs and rights, and works to restore and protect streams and watersheds to ensure long term water availability.  In 2015, they produced a flyer with tips for summer conservation of water on farms and ranches: Saving_Water_Farms_Ranches

The flyer also has some additional resources for farmers and ranchers concerned about water and/or irrigation.

In 2017, OWRD adopted an Integrated Water Resources Strategy to address challenges throughout Oregon related to water.

The plan has useful data, including some forecasts for future water use:



These two graphics show that while Wasco County has a low predicted growth in municipal or industrial water over the next 30+ years, we will see an increase in agricultural water demand.  This is, in part, because of a predicted 8.5 degree fahrenheit temperature increase by mid-century. (For detailed data on how they forecasted water demand, please see this document).

The implications for Wasco County 2040 are to think about ways land use planning and regulations for development can help support OWRD’s strategies.  The report has some specific recommendations for land use plans that we will be considering for Wasco County 2040:

Table 10:   Land Use Planning
Agency Program


Comprehensive Land Use Planning – Develop and implement land use plans to comply with statewide planning goals and other laws.  Comprehensive plans include policies on sewer and water systems, transportation systems, recreational facilities, natural resources and water quality management programs.


Public Facility Plans (Goal 11) – Describes the water, sewer and transportation facilities which are to support the land uses designated in the comprehensive plan. http://www.oregon.gov/lcd/docs/goals/goal11.pdf
Land Use Compatibility Statement – State actions must align with local comprehensive plans.  Local governments complete a land use compatibility statement to approve state actions.
Ordinance – Specify the standards to be used in developing sewers, streets, water lines, and other infrastructure, and establishes procedures for approving development actions.  Also develops floodplain ordinances.
Floodplains – Regulates development in floodplains.  Issues floodplain development permits.  Requires elevation certificates construction within the 100 year floodplain.
Coastal Shorelands Planning Area – Local governments are required to identify the location of areas subject to geologic and hydrologic hazards, and identify evacuation routes.


We look forward to hearing community feedback on how to address water resource challenges.  You can participate now by submitting comments or taking our survey.