Oregon Eyes a Tight Water Future

The municipal demand for water in Oregon is expected to increase by more than 61% by 2050, and many policymakers there are trying to figure out how to meet that growing demand.
April 28, 2009, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"In a state that boasts about webbed feet, access to water is increasingly contested. The state estimates that in the coming years, demand will grow by 1.2 million acre-feet; we use about 9 million acre-feet now. Whoever controls the limited supply will control new housing and industry and how farming expands."

"Water is measured in acre-feet -- the amount that covers an acre to a depth of 1 foot -- and gallons. Oregonians use about 70 million gallons a day to drink, bathe and cook. Portland uses 136 gallons a day per person."

"Every product made in the state, from canned peaches to silicon wafers, takes water. The state lights up on power generated thanks to water."

"And now fish have arrived as a demanding customer. Powerful interests from federal judges to national environmental groups insist that more water be left in rivers for fish. That means less water for some at a time when people are demanding more."

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Published on Saturday, April 25, 2009 in The Oregonian
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