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News Release
Agricultural Water Alliance Forms Amid Persistent Drought to Tackle State Water Issues - 06/22/22

Northeast Oregon Water Association * Oregon Association of Nurseries *Oregon Cattlemen’s Association * Oregon Dairy Farmers Association * Oregon Farm Bureau * Oregon Water Resources Congress * Water for Life, Inc.

Agricultural Water Alliance Forms Amid Persistent Drought to Tackle State Water Issues

Decades of insufficient investment in infrastructure and ongoing regulatory uncertainty have imperiled Oregon’s food and water supply


June 22, 2022
Contact:Greg Addington

SALEM, OR – Today, several agricultural organizations announced the emergence of a new alliance to focus on strategic water investments and common-sense policies that will promote water and agricultural sustainability. This comes as much of Oregon continues to face historic drought conditions and as supply chain issues and global food insecurity concerns grow.

Members of the newly formed Oregon Agricultural Water Alliance (OAWA) include the Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Cattleman’s Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, Oregon Water Resources Congress, Northeast Oregon Water Association, and Water for Life Inc.

The alliance formed a steering committee and contracted with a consultant, Greg Addington, from Oregon’s Klamath Basin, who has experience in organizational operations and state water policy. Priorities identified by the alliance include shifting state water policy to focus on an adequate, safe, and affordable food supply and growing other environmentally beneficial agricultural products; creating more water storage (above and below ground); building drought resiliency; interstate cooperation in water supply and management; demanding more agency accountability; and reducing costly and unnecessary litigation.

Addington, who spent a decade working on Klamath Basin water issues, cited the newly formed group’s recognition that a more coordinated approach from the agricultural community is needed.

“Agricultural producers and water suppliers are struggling with extreme and reoccurring drought, labor shortages, and exponentially rising costs. These challenges are exacerbated by regulatory uncertainty and a lack of investment in storage capacity to safeguard our most basic need—water,” said Addington.

Additional goals established by the coalition include educating policymakers on the importance of forward-looking water policy, advocating for investment in water supply, creating viable pathways to water project implementation, conducting educational tours for legislators and agency staff, and informing the public about the importance of irrigated agriculture to the state’s health and prosperity.

Across the State of Oregon, farmers and ranchers produce over 240 commodities that supply Oregon, the United States, and beyond with critical elements of the agri-food chain. Collectively the OAWA members represent a broad spectrum of individuals and entities including water delivery districts that serve nearly 600,000 acres and over 14,000 producers of food and fiber in Oregon.


Attached Media Files: OAWA Water Policy Priorities