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.

Update on Public Involvement

As staff and the Citizen Advisory Group continue to work on updates and prepare for another road show work session series, we wanted to take a moment to thank all those who have participated in Wasco County 2040 to date.

To celebrate all the wonderful engagement, we updated an infographic from last year to show current numbers on public participation.

outreach may2018

You can submit comments, suggestions or feedback at any time over the next several years.

Here are some easy ways to stay up to date on news or share comments:




You can also send us a letter:

Wasco County Planning Department
Attn: Wasco County 2040
2705 E 2nd St
The Dalles, OR 97058

Thank you for your continued participation in helping us craft a long term vision for Wasco County’s future!

Wasco County 2040 Update

Staff and the Citizen Advisory Group are tackling the first work tasks on our work plan, making updates to Goal 1 and 2 while simultaneously changing the look of the Comprehensive Plan.  Amendments are focused on two main objectives: to align current policy with current practice and to format of the Comprehensive Plan to make it more readable.  The new format of Wasco County 2040 will be focused around each land use planning goal.  Within each goal, there are specific policies and implementation points that help us to achieve our vision.

The proposed changes reflect feedback from the public and our Periodic Review Assistance Team, and are consistent with many current practices for citizen involvement and land use planning.

The first hearing was on April 3rd with the Wasco County Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend adoption of the amended Chapters 1 and 2 to the Wasco County Board of Commissioners.  You can review the packet to review the proposed amendments, read the staff report, and learn more about the proposed changes here: here for a pdf of the packet.

These first two amendments are tasks 1 and 2 of our State approved work plan for Wasco County 2040.  The work plan consists of over 19 work tasks that cover a range of topics related to land use planning including agriculture, natural resources, housing and economic development.  The anticipated completion date for all work tasks are 2020, so there is still time to submit a comment, participate in our work sessions and hearings, and follow the progress.

WorkTasks 1 & 2

The process for adopting the amendments, or changes, looks like this:

Work Task Process

Staff is currently planning a Spring/Summer roadshow to talk to the public about water conservation plans, agri-tourism, land use planning incentives and economic development policies.  This is a great opportunity to provide feedback and ideas about how land use planning and Wasco County 2040 can help us achieve the goals of prosperity 20 years into the future!

We will also be launching a new survey next month, and continue to post information and data about a variety of topics to help keep you informed and up to date on our progress.

Locations of Employment

The US Census Bureau has a web based mapping and reporting applications that illustrates where workers are employed and live, as well as additional demographic information, called OnTheMap.

Using the application and data from 2014, we are able to take a look at where people in Wasco County live and work:


This map illustrates that over 5,000 residents in Wasco County also work here, while over 6,000 live in Wasco but work in other counties.  The breakdown below shows the largest percentages of workers in Wasco County work in The Dalles, while the next most popular destinations for work are Hood River and Portland.


Staff also used the map tools to look at in and out flow of workers in Hood River for comparison.  Less Hood River residents travel outside the county for work than in Wasco County, but a higher percentage commute in to Hood River from elsewhere.

Hood River Inflow

As we think about housing, employment development, and transportations for the Comprehensive Plan Update, its useful to keep in mind how our region currently functions for people as residents and workers.