Reclamation to Partner with OWRD on Willamette River Basin Study

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Megan Montague, (208) 378-5396

For Release: May 29, 2013

BOISE, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region will partner with the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) to develop a Plan of Study for the Willamette River Basin Study aimed at finding collaborative solutions to future water needs in Oregon.

The basin study is jointly funded by the state and supported under Reclamation’s WaterSMART Basin Study program. For the plan of study, OWRD and Reclamation will equally share $50,000 toward the $100,000 study effort.

This follows an earlier announcement from Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor who said $2.1 million will be made available under the WaterSMART Basin Study program for Reclamation to partner with local entities to conduct comprehensive studies of river basins in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada and Oregon.

The Willamette River Basin supports approximately 75 percent of Oregon's population and is the fastest growing area in the state.

More than 170 varieties of agricultural crops are grown and sold in the basin, which produces more than 40 percent of the state's gross farm sales. The basin is rich in native fish and provides critical habitat for several endangered species.

Recreation opportunities are abundant, and the basin is one of the most visited destinations for recreational boaters in Oregon.

The plan of study will assist Reclamation and OWRD to develop the proposed Willamette River Basin Study which will update a previous assessment of basin water demands completed in 2008 and expand it to include an assessment of future demands as a result of climate change. The plan of study is expected to be complete in 2014.

Future study efforts will compile in-stream demands quantified through previous studies, aid the implementation of Oregon's Integrated Water Resources Strategy adopted in 2013 and help evaluate adaptation strategies for securing water in the future.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.