In response to a series of three water-related bills, Rep. Barreto (R-Cove) calls for comments from local landowners and water users.

The bills are sponsored by Rep. Ken Helm (D-Portland), Chair of the House Energy & Environment Committee and scheduled for hearings on Wednesday, March 22. House Bill 2705 would require measurement and annual reporting of all diversions of water after 2020; HB 2706 would impose an annual $100 “management fee” on each water right certificate, permit, decree, or groundwater registration; and HB 2707 would appropriate general fund dollars for ground water investigation and study.

“The concern that Oregon is suffering from a shortage of water has lead Rep. Helm to introduce these bills. Sadly, two of these bills (HB 2705 and HB 2706) as currently drafted, do little to help except increase water user’s costs. Installation of measuring devices on streams can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Daily maintenance can add up to thousands of dollars in additional labor costs. The annual reporting, and more often if the Oregon Water Resources Department requests, of “water amount, rate, and duty” will add thousands of more dollars, annually, in time and additional out-of-pocket expense. The inclusion of a $500 civil penalty for each day of violation of the act, creates the threat of financial disaster for those who make innocent errors while trying to comply with the reporting requirements in HB 2705 because those errors might not be discovered for months after the reports are filed.”

“I strongly suggest that those who have water rights email, write, or call, the members of the Energy & Environment Committee to share their thoughts and suggestions. If possible, attend the hearing on March 22nd, in Salem (900 Court St. NE, Hearing Room-D), at 3PM,” said Rep. Barreto.

Written testimony can be submitted prior to the hearing at: hee.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov

Contact information for the Energy & Environment Committee members can be found at:
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Committees/HEE/Overview