Meeting set to discuss water resource strategy

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) is seeking public input on updates to the states Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) – Oregon’s framework for better understanding and meeting the state’s instream and out-of-stream water needs.

The IWRS is updated about once every five years and helps guide the work and funding of state water agencies. It also helps inform state legislature about important water issues in Oregon. OWRD is partnering with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT) to gather public feedback for this round of updates through an online survey and during in-person community conversations .

A virtual meeting option has also been added for those who cannot attend in person.

“Feedback from these surveys and meetings is crucial in creating a plan for Oregon’s water future that reflects the public’s diverse water needs, concerns and opinions” said Crystal Grinnell, IWRS Specialist with OWRD.

A mid-valley meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, at Tunison Community Room, 365 SW Tunison Ave., Corvallis. Prospective participants are asked to sign up at bit.ly/water-conversations.

The virtual meeting will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, at bit.ly/zoom-water-convo.

The online survey option is available at consultations.oregonskitchentable.org/survey/oregons-water-strategy.

Following the surveys and meetings, OKT will report findings to OWRD which will be used to draft the IWRS update. An interagency team including OWRD, the Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Department of Land Conservation and Development and several other agencies will then work together on the draft before public reviews in October 2023 and January 2024. Following these reviews, the Water Resources Commission will be slated to adopt the updated IWRS in early 2024.

With input from broad audiences across Oregon, the updated IWRS will identify critical water challenges and their potential solutions in the context of climate change, guide agency planning and budget requests, and identify changes needed surrounding equitable water policy. The meetings and survey will also help OWRD understand how communities would like to stay informed about water issues and the IWRS in hopes of boosting public contributions to conversations about water.

Learn more about the IWRS at https://bit.ly/3Ibobrf.