Drought is “The New Normal”

By Samantha Murray, photo by Lacey Jarrell

Last week, some of the nation’s best and brightest water scientists, lawyers and policy-makers convened in Eugene, Oregon to think big about drought in the West. And the take-home message was that these dry periods are not going anywhere. In fact, they are more likely to grow in frequency and severity, thanks to climate change.

Since populations have shifted over the years to the most arid parts of the country and much of our food comes from those same places, experts believe we’d be better off looking at drought as a “familiar common enemy” that unites us, rather than a natural disaster that makes winners and losers.

To help Oregon prepare for this “new normal,” OEC developed a series of water conservation strategies in our Making Water Work report. The state’s 2012 Integrated Water Resources Strategy incorporates many of our recommendations. OEC continues to watchdog the plan’s implementation and looks forward to participating in its 2017 update.

Read the Herald and News recap of the water symposium event here.

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