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Development of an Integrated Water Resources Strategy: Assessing the Public’s Values, Knowledge, Perception of Risk, and Acceptability of Management Strategies.

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  • Oregon is perceived as a water rich state; however, as the 2001 Klamath Basin crisis demonstrated, Oregon is not immune to water conflict and problems. Due to its seasonal fluctuations in water availability and geographical variation, Oregon can be considered a water scarce state, with the majority of surface water already fully, or in some places, over allocated during summer months. Climate change, population growth, and increased demand for water in Oregon are stressors compromising water quantity and quality for water users, ecosystem services, as well as limiting resources available for fish and wildlife. In 2009, the 75th Legislative Assembly passed HB 3369 authorizing the Oregon Water Resources Department (in conjunction with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Agriculture) to develop a statewide, integrated water resources strategy, signifying the need for an assessment of water use and availability, as well as a projection for future water needs. In order to develop a statewide, integrated water resource plan, it is important to determine how Oregonians perceive water issues in Oregon. As such, as assessment of Oregonians’ risk perception, knowledge, values and adaptability to changing water conditions is imperative to plan for future water needs of people and ecosystems. Further, it is necessary to understand just how climate change will impact the amount, timing and availability of snowpack runoff that supplies the majority of water to the residents and wildlife in Oregon. We will therefore highlight results from two statewide surveys and interviews of Oregon residents, elected officials, and agency personnel in order to describe the socio-political perceptions of Oregonians.
  • Presented at The Oregon Water Conference, May 24-25, 2011, Corvallis, OR.
  • KEYWORDS: Integrated Water Resources Strategies, Public knowledge, Water consumption, Socio-political
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  • Corvallis, Oregon, USA
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