18 results for tag: water


What is the biggest challenge we face on water in 2016 and beyond?

In preparation for our May 4th Business Forum on Water, OEC Water Program Director Samantha Murray got a chance to sit down and talk to national expert Robert Glennon about our evolving relationship with water in a changing climate.   SM: How do you think our relationship with water will change in the coming decades? RG: We will have to confront scarcity. At the moment, we Americans are spoiled. When we turn on the taps, out comes a plentiful supply of water for less than we pay for cable television or cell phone service. SM: What is the biggest challenge we face on water in 2016 and beyond? RG: We have a proud and virtually ...

How’s your drinking water?

The 2015 crisis in Flint, MI might have you wondering: Is there lead in my drinking water? And what else is in there that could harm my family’s health? It’s worth taking the time to find out. Where do you get your water? There are thousands of individual water systems in Oregon—2,600 are public and hundreds of others private. Some serve communities, and others serve individual hospitals, schools, campgrounds and more. The 54 largest public community water systems, like those in Portland and Salem, serve 70% of Oregonians. Another 7% of Oregonians get their water from much smaller community systems, serving as few as 10 households. All ...

The Big River

by Aja DeCoteau, OEC board member My people, the Yakama, called it N’ch i wana, “the big river.” The Columbia River has been the lifeblood of all the cultures it touches. The salmon that swim its waters have shaped the culture of the newcomers to this region just as they shaped tribal cultures before them. Salmon are the icon of this place. My roots run deep in this region—for thousands of years of my ancestors fished in its waters, gathered in its meadows, hunted its forests. That connection is a big part of who I am today. I feel a responsibility to make sure the tribal land ethic and sense of place are represented in conversations ...

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 ...

What you should know about well water

If you are like more than 70% of Oregonians, some of your drinking water comes from wells and other groundwater sources. Approximately 23% of Oregonians rely on private wells as their primary source of water – to drink, to bathe in, and to cook their food. Yet this valuable water source can become contaminated. Earlier this month the Medford Mail Tribune took a deep look at one such contaminant affecting Jackson County: arsenic. Jackson County is not alone. Similar problems exist across the state, but for years state agencies have not had the resources to monitor groundwater quality, so there is little information about the extent of the ...

It’s Your Oregon member profile: Ken Bailey

This member spotlight is on Ken Bailey. Ken is a third generation cherry farmer in The Dalles, OR, who is committed to sustainable practices.

Healthy Soil, Healthy Oregon

Plants need nutrients in order to provide us with the food and fiber we need to survive. And while farmers are cost-conscious, over 50% of the fertilizer applied to major U.S. crops washes out as runoff or leaches into our water supply. The result is wasted money for farmers, contaminated drinking water and increased incidence of toxic algae blooms in our rivers, lakes and streams. Unused nitrogen fertilizer that leaches into groundwater or washes into streams can lead to nitrate pollution in drinking water from wells and eutrophication and hypoxic zones in freshwater and coastal waters. The human and environmental health concerns about nitrogen ...

Saving Water in Your Home

Water is a limited resource, and even in our wet corner of the world supplies can be depleted. Rivers across the state provide drinking water for our communities and up to 30% of Oregonians draw on wells that are linked to nearby rivers. The more water we use, the less we leave for fish, wildlife and irrigating farms, and the more we end up paying. Like it or not, the population of the Pacific Northwest is expected to grow drastically over during our lifetime, so even more demands will be placed on our water resources. The good news is that conserving water is easy. Here are a few ways to get started: Water in the morning or evening, not in ...