Walden, Merkley water plan for Central Oregon signed into law

The Crooked River Collaborative Water Security and Jobs Act, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), was signed into law by President Barack Obama last week.

The legislation, which will increase the quality of water management and create jobs in the central Oregon region, was unanimously approved by both the Senate and House.

“After many years of hard work, our Central Oregon jobs and water plan is now the law of the land,” Walden said. “This bill is a win for jobs in Central Oregon. It provides much-needed water to Prineville for city residents and economic development, ensures certainty for farmers, improves fish habitat for tribes and other fishermen, paves the way for energy generation at Bowman Dam, and protects recreation.”

The legislation will implement the collaborative water management vision developed by local stakeholders in Central Oregon, including the city of Prineville, Crook County, and many other communities and corporate entities. 

“Having this bill signed into law is a great holiday gift to the Central Oregon community,” Merkley said. “A new water management plan will provide so many benefits to the region. With this vision now being put into action, Central Oregon will be a model for how to manage our water resources in a way that is truly better for the whole community.”

The benefits to water users and occupants of the central Oregon region are significant, as the policy is expected to help meet municipal water needs, provide irrigation certainty for area farmers, maintain fish populations and improve the efficiency of hydroelectric power at Bowman Dam.

“I’d like to again thank everyone who came together on this important bill, and pledge that I’ll work hard to ensure that it is implemented promptly,” Walden concluded.