Water Conservation Public Input Results

Thank you to all participants at events and online!  We got great feedback from people on how to leverage the land use planning program to help support conservation of water resources.

Results from the survey are closely aligned with what we heard at events; by in large, the community emphasized incentives and education as the best strategies for Wasco County 2040 to focus on when developing policy for water conservation.

Here are the results from the survey:


Wasco County Planning staff is currently preparing a report that analyzes all input during the last several months and offering some recommendations for Wasco County 2040 which will be initially presented to the Planning Commission in August.

We encourage you to attend our hearings, and submit comments online at any time.

If you are looking for more information about water conservation in Wasco County, we encourage you to visit the Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District website for various resources.

You can also learn more about water rights, wells, drought, water conservation, and various other water related issues impacting Oregon by visiting the Oregon Water Resources Department‘s website.

Water Conservation and Farms

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.

2017 Integrated Water Resources Strategy

In talking to community members to date, we have heard a lot of concerns about water and the future of water availability in Wasco County.

The Planning Department works with several partners who manage things like water rights and water health.  A critical partner is the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD).

OWRD has a public draft available on their website of the 2017 Integrated Water Resources Strategy and will be accepting comments until July 19th.  This document updates an original strategy adopted in 2012, and houses guiding principles to meet Oregon’s need on the water systems statewide.

You can find contact information and get a pdf copy of the draft by visiting their site here: http://www.oregon.gov/owrd/Pages/law/integrated_water_supply_strategy.aspx#2017_Public_Review_Draft_Integrated_Water_Resources_Strategy

The Planning Department is currently working with partners to better understand our local water issues and potential strategies, so stay tuned for more updates!