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Oregon and the federal government have implemented policies and plans that address water quality related to agricultural production and that work to protect the public and natural environment from unnecessary pollution. These policies guide the regulatory process of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). Knowing these laws and what they regulate will help property owners to minimize their risk of committing infractions which result in penalties.
The Agricultural Water Quality Management (AgWQM) Area Plan, came out of the Agricultural Water Quality Management Act (Senate Bill 1010) in 1993. Our local area plan for the Molalla-Pudding-French Prairie-North Santiam Subbasins was approved in January of 2002, and provides guidance for addressing agricultural water quality issues.
Water rights are required if property owners are interested in using water for other than domestic uses. There are surface, storage and ground water rights. Property owners are encouraged to search the Oregon Water Resource Department (OWRD) water rights information system database. If a property has water rights, documentation can be found here. If you currently have a permit, it is in your interest to work on acquiring a certificate.
Watersheds and their hydrological features provide key functions to natural ecosytsems. Destorying or altering these features in any way can have a huge impact upon the natural environment. A watershed is defined as an area of land where all of the water that falls upon it, is under it, or drains off of it, converges into specific lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, or oceans.
Many residents in Marion County must rely upon a well for their domestic water uses. Roughly 500,000 citizens in Oregon use a household well and are required to protect, test and purify the water to keep their family safe. Having a basic knowledge of the mechanics and issues related to a well will assist property owners with identifying and solving problems when they arise.