Protecting our water
A potential deal to help Nestle extract and sell our water has raised the profile of water stewardship issues in Oregon. On April 17th, I joined 8 colleagues to share concerns about the transfer with Governor Brown.
We’re at a turning point for water use in the West. Seven Oregon counties face drought emergencies, climate change is a fact of life, and wealthy investors are looking to divert northwestern water to California. At a time like this, Oregon needs to look carefully at how we steward our water resources.
Here are some steps that would help us deal with water scarcity issues:
- Require a public interest review when the state seeks to transfer public water rights to help a private company extract and sell our clean water.
- Develop a water stewardship strategy to make sure we meet the needs of people, fish, the environment, and farmers. We could start by assessing Oregon’s “Water Resources Strategy” to make sure it deals with emerging concerns about drought, diversion, and privatization, and it reflects our values.
- We should also consider whether a state agency like the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife should actively facilitate a deal to help a private company extract, bottle, and sell Oregon’s water.
I plan to continue working with Governor Brown and my colleagues in the legislature to use Oregon’s water carefully and protect our communities, wildlife, and environment.