“Maintain the public’s rights on the Willamette River
for local and regional needs.”
The Willamette River Water Coalition (WRWC) was created in 1997 under ORS Chapter 190 and is comprised of four local governments that have united together in order to preserve access to the Willamette River as a potential municipal and industrial water source for their communities. WRWC members include the cities of Tigard, Tualatin, and Sherwood, as well as the Tualatin Valley Water District. All of these members are committed to protecting the best interests of their communities by working together to secure water rights, investigate water treatment options and monitor water quality.
The coalition holds the water rights from the Oregon Water Resource Department to 130 million gallons of water per day from the Willamette River. While the City of Sherwood is currently the only member of WRWC with immediate plans to utilize the Willamette River for their community’s drinking water needs, all members of WRWC are committed to preserving access to this water source.
All members of WRWC expect to see significant increases in population in the next twenty to fifty years and beyond. As a result of this growth, communities are expecting to see a proportional increase in demand for water. For example, the total population for the area served by WRWC members is projected to increase nearly 50%, from approximately 288,500 to over 430,000 in the next 30 years. It is imperative that local governments plan for future growth in order to ensure that there is adequate availability of critical infrastructure, including water. It is for this reason that the WRWC's missions to “maintain the public’s rights on the Willamette River for local and regional needs” is so important.
To support this mission, the WRWC has adopted a work plan with the following objectives:
Maintain water rights on the Willamette River: Work with Water Resources Department, Governor’s Office and other agencies to preserve existing WRWC water rights. Stay informed about changes in water right law that could potentially have an impact on ability of WRWC to maintain/preserve its current or future water rights.Action Items:
- Continue monitoring of legislative and administrative processes affecting the existing water right and potential future water rights.
- Determine deadlines for updates and other required actions; coordinate with member jurisdictions to ensure that all requirements of water rights are met.
- Monitor and engage in US Army Corps of Engineers process regarding Willamette River Basin Storage, and keep WRWC members informed on how these proposals may impact the existing water right and potential future water rights.
- Participate in regional meetings/activities associated with the Willamette River that have a potential to impact the WRWC water right permit or WRWC members use of the WRWC water right permit.
Create community, industry and government partnerships: Explore partnerships with other entities engaged in activities affecting the Willamette River.Action Items
- Identify organizations with which to partner (industrial, agricultural, aggregate, environmental, economic development, etc.).
- Work with local and regional governments to coordinate future use of the Willamette River as a potential water source.
- Work with Metro to secure right-of-way easements along possible Tonquin Trail route.
- Initiate discussions with the Cities of Wilsonville and Hillsboro about possible membership in the WRWC and/or closer coordination with their use of Willamette River water.
Promote efforts to maintain the highest possible quality water in the Willamette River.Action Items:
- Identify opportunities to collaborate in ongoing environmental efforts benefiting the Willamette River.
- Support water-testing efforts.
- Encourage the equitable allocation of the water to authorized uses including municipal water supply and instream purposes.
Maintain consistent communication with members, partners and the public about the WRWC mission and the Willamette River.Action Items
- Continue ongoing updates of the WRWC website to ensure that the website is an up-to-date source of information about the WRWC mission and the Willamette River (this includes quarterly updates from WRWC members to individual member pages, and regular updates to the website to reflect current issues and information).
- Provide relevant issue information at board meetings and invite speakers to provide the board with pertinent information should the board request it.
- Provide minutes of board meetings within two weeks after they occur.
- Provide monthly financial reports to board members and staff, and as early as possible prior to board meetings.
- Provide monthly board updates on regional water news.
- Provide board updates on relevant water legislation and administrative rule changes.
- Provide regular status reports and evaluations on the progress and core direction of the organization.
Monitor issues related to future infrastructure capacity and develop a process to respond to requests for future infrastructure investments.Action Items
- Provide updates, as needed, regarding the potential of future capacity increases to the Willamette River Treatment Plant.
- Monitor activities that might impact future capacity increases of the Willamette River Treatment Plant, including preservation of corridors in public rights-of-way, opportunities for acquisition of properties that might facilitate more cost-effective alignments, etc.
- Monitor and engage in efforts by local, regional, state and federal governments to develop additional options for funding of new infrastructure.
- Initiate process for transfer of Wilsonville-TVWD agreement regarding the Willamette River Treatment Plant to a Wilsonville-WRWC agreement.
- Develop a process to be used by the board should there be any future requests for investments related to infrastructure capacity.
Determine the most effective and cost-efficient management structure for WRWC so as to achieve all objectives within the work plan.Action Items
- Analyze the implications of moving from a contract administrator to a lead agency management approach, including potential cost differences and service effectiveness.
- Analyze the WRWC funding of projects to make sure costs are equitably distributed based upon future needs of and benefits to WRWC members.