Nursery News: News

OAN provides feedback on two water supply bills

Friday, March 8, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Beth Farmer
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The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) is pushing for additional funding to support and expedite groundwater studies throughout the state, while urging caution on a bid to measure and report water use.

Groundwater study bill
OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone testified (PDF) Tuesday in support of House Bill 2856, which would provide $9 million for phase one of a groundwater study effort. “Water is the lifeblood of the nursery and greenhouse industry,” Stone told committee members. “It must be available in sufficient quantity and quality to allow for future growth of the industry. However, the management of water is only as good as the information the state has at its disposal.”

He told the House Energy and Environment Committee that OAN favors the development of a 10-year plan to study groundwater in basins across the state. Current plans by the Water Resources Department call for a 60-year horizon to complete studies in 12 basins of concern. “House Bill 2856 is aggressive and holds the Water Resources Department accountable,” Stone testified.

Measuring and reporting bill
Stone also testified (PDF) Tuesday before the same committee on House Bill 2854, which would create a task force to study measurement and reporting of appropriated water use.

Stone said that OAN supports the objective of the bill, but he listed several critical issues that should be addressed prior to passage of a bill on this topic. He added that any bill should prioritize high priority areas where the data would be most useful and can make a difference. And he concluded that agricultural users shouldn’t be punished for their efficiency by being exposed to forfeiture of an unused portion of their water rights.

Stone proposed that a legislative work group, similar to the one that OAN worked on previously, should be created to work on these issues and come back with legislation for the 2021 session.

» OAN Testimony on House Bill 2854 | » OAN Testimony on House Bill 2856