Q. Why is water planning needed on the coast?
A. The Mid-Coast needs reliable water supplies. Although the mid-coast receives ~70 inches of rainfall annually, local communities have struggled to meet water demands in recent years. A 2008 study found that, given current supplies and infrastructure, water suppliers could have insufficient supplies by as early as 2020.
Water is critical for people, the economy, and the environment. A sufficient supply of quality water is needed for drinking water, agricultural and industrial uses and to provide adequate stream flow to sustain diverse aquatic fish and wildlife species, tourism,as well as to support and commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries and tourism on the coast.
Water supply depends on timing and storage. Stream flows are lowest in the summer, when demand for drinking water, tourism, and recreation is highest. We need to provide enough water for all uses while ensuring sufficient stream flows for fish and wildlife.
Water quality. There is a need to expand water quality monitoring to help us better understand water quality needs and plan for improvement.
There is a need for regional water planning. Until recently, there hasn’t been a comprehensive effort to understand water supply and quality issues at the basin level. The challenges we face aren’t challenges that any one entity can tackle alone. We need a larger scale, coordinated approach to water planning and management.
Q. What is the Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership?
A. In June, 2016, the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) awarded a grant to City of Newport to initiate a collaborative water planning process on the mid-coast.
OWRD and City of Newport will jointly convene a diverse group of stakeholders interested in water resources to better understand the region’s needs, share knowledge and resources, and ultimately make a plan for a secure water future for the region.
This process is open to the public – anyone can be involved. It is expected that representatives of local water districts, business and industry, tribal and local governments, fishing, tourism and agriculture will want to participate.
Q. What does the Partnership hope to accomplish?
A. The outcomes of the Partnership will depend on the interests and needs of the members. Members of the Partnership will help to identify shared challenges and shared goals for the planning effort. Some examples of things the Partnership may accomplish are to:
- Replace aging infrastructure, improve conservation, enhance regional water supply options, and more effectively share water between different uses and users.
- Relieve late season pressure on rivers, streams and tributaries while meeting the water needs for coastal communities and industries.
- Create redundancies in our system so we are more resilient to drought, storms and other natural vulnerabilities.
- Create a learning and action network for small water providers who are most vulnerable to environmental and regulatory challenges.
Q. What are the benefits of Partnership?
A. Through this process, we hope to bring everyone to the table who is interested in and affected by water resource issues on the mid-coast. Through this Partnership we will: to –
- Develop a common understanding of our water issues through discussion, sharing of knowledge, and examination of best practices.
Coordinate current and future information gathering and data collection efforts.
- Develop a shared vision for our water future.
Build cooperative relationships and foster networking among diverse water interests.
- Create a forum to explore innovative, out-of-the box solution to collective problems.
- Coordinate and leverage local and statewide resources to achieve the best results for our region.
- Build cooperative relationships, share different perspectives, and foster networking.
- Develop a common understanding of our existing water resources including our natural resources, our water supply facilities, and our collective knowledge.
- Understand our water resources challenges and opportunities and develop a common vision for the future.
- Share knowledge and educate ourselves about water issues through discussion and sharing of best practices.
- Define our water resource destiny by developing an action plan and leveraging resources so we can actually accomplish the plan.
Q. Who is involved?
A. Anyone interested in our water future at the mid-coast is encouraged to participate! We expect the Partnership to include representatives from water suppliers, industry, tourism, agriculture, fishing, conservation, as well as tribal, local, state and federal and local government, conservation groups, and members of the general public.
Q. How will the Partnership operate?
A. We are launched a 5-step planning process beginning in September 2016.
- Step 1: September 2016 – May 2017
- Convene the partners and initiate the planning process.
- Agree upon principles for how the collaborative will operate.
- Create a work plan and schedule.
- Create an open and inclusive process that invites public participation.
- Step 2: May 2017 – November 2017
- Gather information to help us understand our current water resources, ecological, and water quality issues and needs.
- Step 3: TBD
- Understand current and future water needs accounting for vulnerabilities.
- Step 4: schedule to be determined
- Identify options and develop integrated strategies to meet current and future water needs.
- Step 5: schedule to be determined
- Develop an Integrated Water Resources Plan that defines actions we will take to meet the current and future needs of the Mid-Coast region.
Q. When will the meetings be held?
See the Meeting Materials page for more information.
Q. How can I get more information and/or join the Partnership?
Read the materials on the website: http://www.midcoastwaterpartners.com
Like the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Mid-Coast-Water-Partners-123456394762620/
Join the mailing list: http://bit.ly/mwpplist
Contact the co-conveners
City of Newport – Timothy Gross, Public Works Director/City Engineer
Oregon Water Resources Department – Harmony Burright, Planning Coordinator
Any other questions? Let us know!