Lane County Commissioners today are hearing a resolution regarding Willamette Water Company’s water rights on the McKenzie River.
From Doug Heiken at Oregon Wild:
The Willamette Water Company is a small water company that is trying develop a big boondoggle to divert scarce water from the McKenzie River to areas south of Goshen where there is no established need. There is no clear need for this water. The company’s current right is for 4 CFS, but they are only using only a fraction of that, and the new application is for 34 CFS. Where’s the need? Why give them 80 times the water they are currently using? How do we know this speculative future need trumps the obvious needs of the river ecosystem?
You can reach Lane County Commissioners here: 541-682-4203. Or at the bottom of this page is a list of emails.
The Oregon Water Resource Department is asleep on the job. They have not documented any need. They just take the word of the traditional economic boosters who think that the “next big industry” is right around the corner if we just give away more public resources for private profit.
Allocation of water should be a public decision made in the public interest, not delegated to private profiteers who speculate on water rights. Giving up a huge allocation of McKenzie River water to the Willamette Water Company will take the public out of the equation.
There are ESA-listed fish in the McKenzie River, not to mention a valuable recreational fishery. There is already shortage of water in the river in the dry summer months. It makes no sense to move water that far outside of the McKenzie watershed.