Not just salmon: Watershed restoration means clean drinking water for Oregonians

Oregonians care about their water for good reason. More than half of all Oregonians get their drinking water from rivers and streams and protecting the watersheds that provide that water is more important than ever.

From summer droughts to a backlog of deferred maintenance on pipes and treatment plants, our towns face daunting challenges in their provision of safe, clean drinking water.

A recent audit of the Oregon Department of Water Resources identified areas where the state must focus in coming years, and a lack of funding is an ongoing concern. A new public-private effort, the Drinking Water Providers Partnership, aims to help address challenges by providing more resources at the local level.

Over the next 20 years, more than $5.6 billion is needed in drinking water infrastructure repairs and improvements in Oregon as we make room for another one to two million residents.

When watersheds are healthy, they store and filter water more economically than many human-designed systems while providing many other benefits for people and wildlife. Restoring streams is a common sense and cost-effective strategy for protecting public health while keeping water treatment costs down.

Restoring the vitality of our watersheds is a key strategy to helping Oregonians meet current and future water management challenges. Beautiful rivers, clean drinking water, abundant salmon runs, and greater peace of mind: we get more for our money when we invest in nature.

See full Op-Ed by Cathy Kellon in Oregon Live.

See proposal solicitation from Drinking Water Providers Partnership + photo credit.

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