Legislature passes 2009 Water Investment Act

 Oregon Tax News,

 In the waning days of the 2009 Oregon Legislative session the Legislature attempted to address the state’s increasing water demand by passing House Bill 3369, titled “The 2009 Water Investment Act.” The bill directs the Water Resources Department to develop a state-wide, integrated water resources strategy. The state-wide strategy is intended to help Oregon meet its future water needs in terms of water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem needs.

 The Water Resources Department will manage the project team in consultation with the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Fish and Wildlife. It also places additional requirements on the Department’s loan fund for the construction of water development projects. It establishes a new grant fund for the construction of water development projects and specifies requirements for the Umatilla Basin Aquifer Recovery Project to use the grant fund. The Umatilla Basin Aquifer Recovery Project is a test in using below ground water storage.

Funding for “The 2009 Water Investment Act” was incorporated into Senate Bills 5505, 5535 and 5054. Senate Bill 5505 authorizes the state to issue $10 million in general obligation bonds to provide loans for the construction of water development projects in the Columbia River Basin by water developers that are not municipalities or municipal water providers. Senate Bill 5535 authorizes the state to issue $2.5 million in lottery-backed bonds for the Umatilla Basin Aquifer Recovery Project, plus $500,000 for water development project feasibility studies, $217,000 to operate loan and grant programs and $283,000 for two positions related to a state-wide integrated water resources strategy. The bill operates in conjunction with SB 5054, which allocates the funds to the above projects.

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