Having issued drought declarations in 23 of Oregon’s 36 counties to date, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has decided to make sure the State does its part. Yesterday, Governor Brown issued Executive Order No. 15-09, which seeks to reduce water consumption across all state agencies by no less than 15 percent on or before December 31, 2020. While the directive applies to all state agencies, it specifically calls out those that “own or manage land or facilities”–including the Department of Administrative Services, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of State Lands, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Military Department, and the Department of Corrections–to (a) consult with the Oregon Department of Administrative Services and the Oregon Water Resources Department to establish their baseline use of water and (b) manage their own water supplies or consult with their water suppliers to achieve greater efficiencies and curtail non-essential uses.
The Order further requires the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Office of Emergency Management to engage state and federal agencies, tribal and local governments, and other stakeholders to update Oregon’s Drought Annex to the State of Oregon Emergency Operations Plan to better assess the risk of drought and better prepare for future droughts as they may occur. The Order additionally requires the Oregon Water Resources Department to generally “address drought” in its scheduled 2017 update to the department’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy. While no further information is provided to better define the scope of such an update, given such a broad directive, water users would be wise to keep abreast of these and related developments.
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