ALERT: Ask Water Resources to Close Stockwatering Loophole!!


Ask Water Resources to Close Stockwatering Loophole

Dear WaterWatch Supporters: 

WaterWatch recently joined several other groups in asking the Oregon Water Resources Commission to limit new unpermitted use of groundwater for “stockwatering” in two critical groundwater areas in the Umatilla basin.

Please click the button below by 5 PM on November 12 to send comments in support of our request.

While most new uses of groundwater require a water use permit, the law provides an unlimited exemption for “stockwatering.” While that might have made sense when the law was adopted in 1955, and when livestock operations were mostly small and dispersed, the water demands of stockwatering on today’s factory farms are far more than incidental. The issue has come to a head in the Umatilla Basin, which now has several industrial-scale dairies, and a new one planned, to supply milk to a Tillamook Creamery Association processing plant in Boardman, Oregon.

Collectively, these dairies have about 80,000 cows, with a new one planned for almost 30,000 cows. The area also has several so-called “critical groundwater areas,” which are special designations for areas where the groundwater demands exceed the ability of the aquifers to replenish themselves and additional regulation is necessary.

On October 5, WaterWatch joined groups advocating for clean air and water, family farms, rural communities and animal welfare to file a petition asking the Water Resources Commission to limit new unpermitted uses of water for stockwatering to 5,000 gallons per day - the same as for commercial and industrial use – in two critical groundwater areas. While that may sound like a lot of water, industrial-scale dairies like the ones locating near Boardman use several hundred thousand gallons of water a day just for stockwatering (not to mention irrigation and dairy operations). They shouldn’t be able to do that in a critical groundwater area without even going through the reviews associated with a new permit or a transfer of existing water rights.

Important: To Read Further Information

To see the Commission’s full notice for the opportunity to comment and a copy of the petition, click here.

Contact Us

WaterWatch of Oregon
213 SW Ash St Ste 208
Portland, Oregon 97203

Connect with us!