In Oregon we have a plan for our water: the Integrated Water Resources Strategy. This Strategy helps us understand what water we have available in Oregon and what we need for people, plants, animals, and the land. The Strategy (or IWRS) is updated every five years. In spring 2023 the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) and 13 other state agencies worked with Oregon’s Kitchen Table to hear what Oregonians want to see in the update to the 2017 Strategy.
The goals of the community engagement process conducted by OKT was twofold: 1. to hear from people throughout Oregon about what matters most to them related to how state agencies understand and meet Oregon’s different water needs; and 2. to hear from Oregonians who have not traditionally been included in statewide conversations about water. Over the course of two months, we heard from around 1900 people around Oregon through online and paper surveys, formal Regional Community Conversations, self-organized community conversations, and culturally specific community organizing activities.
Across the different forms of engagement, people responded to questions and held conversations about:
- What are your major water issues/concerns (both now and in the future)?
- What are some ideas for solving these issues/concerns?
- How can OWRD and other state agencies better work with your community going forward on water issues?
Read the full report to OWRD and partner agencies and a summary of what we heard in 8 languages below.