It is raining and it will keep raining. It feels like it has always been raining.
Rain-soaked Oregonians understandably doubt that water scarcity could ever be an issue here. But, in some parts of the state, we live in a land of water overabundance and also of failing drinking water systems due to quality, quantity, and infrastructure issues. As a result, city and rural drinking water is at risk (Monroe, Warm Springs, Klamath, Yamhill, Willamina, Wheeler, Corbett, Salem, and on and on) from climate change, logging practices, and a lack of investment.
Climate change will extend our dry season and make our wet season more peaky, reducing water supply and quality. The coming natural reasons for water shortages will be exacerbated by infrastructure failures. Water systems are failing due to age and the inability of cities, like Monroe, to pay for the costs of upgrades from their rate base
There are a number of movements to address the pending water shortage by improving and protecting forested watersheds. Our U.S. Senators introduced and are in the process of amending an update and expansion of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Under this Act, the expanded stream side buffers on federal lands will slow winter rains, filtering out chemicals and sediment while recharging aquifers and stream base flow.