I have spent the past 4 days battling the flu (and losing so far) so I could not make it to the Ways & Means hearing in Redmond yesterday. I was able to get off the couch this afternoon to submit the written comments below. You can as well using this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. As someone who serves on a state board where public comments are submitted I can tell you they make a difference. Don’t assume someone else will do it for you.
To: Joint Committee on Ways and Means
Re: POPs 123, 102, and 108
I live in an unincorporated part of Deschutes County commonly called Tumalo, between Bend and Redmond. I serve on ODFW’s Restoration & Enhancement Board and was a member of ODFW’s most recent External Budget Advisory Committee. I am a long time fisheries advocate and blogger for which I was given the 2018 Award of Merit from the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
I don’t envy the very difficult decisions you have to make, the needs of Oregon are great and funding is limited. One of the most fundamental needs for all Oregonians, however, is clean, plentiful water, a need that is endangered by our lack of attention.
As you know, much of Oregon has been in extreme drought for the past decade. The recent storms have brought some relief, but according to the National Drought Mitigation Center most of the state remains in a moderate drought (Deschutes County remains in severe drought). A couple of weeks of even record snowfall does not make up for years of dry conditions and over use of water.
Water is a requirement for life but Oregon lacks some basic understanding of how much we have and how much we need. ODFW’s POP 123 along with OWRD’s POP 102 and POP 108 would help answer some basic questions. How much groundwater do we have? How much are we extracting? What is a sustainable rate? How much water do our streams and rivers need to support viable ecosystems?
Most Oregonians I speak to are shocked that we don’t already have this information. Without it we will not be able to plan for growth or warming. Without it we will face a crisis in the foreseeable future that will impact drinking water, industry, agriculture, recreation, and our environment.
Please help us plan for water security for Oregon by funding POPs 123, 102, and 108.