PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Oregon Water Trust (OWT) has announced completion of 51 water right acquisitions throughout Oregon for the 1999 irrigation season totaling 32.28 cubic feet per second and enhancing flows along 305 river miles. "We are very pleased with the progress we have made during our first six years of operations," said Andrew Purkey, Executive Director of the Water Trust. "We started in 1994 with four leases of water rights, and by 1998 we acquired 31 water rights through donations, leases, purchases, and conserved water projects. Our 1999 instream water right portfolio represents a 65 percent increase in acquisitions and a 36 percent increase in the amount of water from last year."
The OWT acquisitions for 1999 include eleven permanent instream water rights, accomplished through one permanent donation, purchase of seven senior water rights, and implementation of three conserved water projects. The remaining acquisitions are leases of water rights for instream use, including four paid leases and 36 donated leases. "We doubled our number of permanent instream rights this irrigation season, and this is an important measure of our progress," according to Purkey. "While leases are temporary, they also help accomplish our ecological goals of enhancing flows and fish habitat, and leases provide valuable experience to water right holders and OWT with instream flows."
OWT focuses its acquisition efforts in several priority basins around the state. In southwestern Oregon, OWT acquisitions include 19 instream rights in the Rogue Basin and seven in the Umpqua Basin. In central Oregon, 16 acquisitions were made in the Deschutes and Hood basins, and in eastern Oregon seven acquisitions were made in the John Day, Umatilla, and Grande Ronde basins. OWT also completed two acquisitions in the Willamette Basin in 1999, the first year of Trust operations in this part of the state.
OWT is a private nonprofit organization working to restore streamflows to improve fish habitat, water quality, and recreation by acquiring senior consumptive water rights and transferring them to instream use. For more information visit OWT's website at www.owt.org.
Return to the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water News Homepage