When fresh water collects in a river or lake, or even the ground, in a large enough quantity to be considered a supply, there are usually multiple ways it can be used. Farmers may need it to water their crops, cities may need it to provide drinking water to their customers, fish may need it to live, and so on. It’s no wonder that water is fought over worldwide even more than oil – and that fighting is predicted to get even worse in the 21st Century.
Thankfully, that is not the case in Washington County. However, some aspects are similar – a limited water supply and lots of potential users. However, instead of fighting, local agencies and key interest groups have joined forces and are looking for solutions together. All agree there will soon be a need for an additional water supply in Washington County – primarily during the summer season. Developing new water sources is expensive though, so agencies need to pool their resources to make large projects happen. In addition, the partners also need to agree on the best water source for a collaborative project. There are several options in the area and some work better for certain partners than others. Some projects would take longer to build than others, some are more expensive and some partners need their water sooner than others. Coming to an agreement on all these issues is what makes the process of securing a future water supply take a decade or more.
Luckily for Hillsboro, the new supply will not be needed for a while yet. City officials secured the water supply used today back in the 1970’s and because they did, Hillsboro is in good shape with a plentiful water supply to meet current needs for about another 10 years. However, Hillsboro now needs to show the same stewardship toward the next generation and plan for the water supply that will serve Hillsboro’s children and grandchildren. Some things may change, but the need for water will always be there.
Hillsboro Project Partners are:
- City of Forest Grove
- Tualatin Valley Irrigation District
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Washington County