Anti-Rural Water Bills

E. Werner Reschke

Anti-Rural Water Bills.

Hello Friends,

Three important water bills will be heard this Wednesday, March 22nd, in the House Energy & Environment Committee.

My main concern is that rural districts will pay a disproportionate unfair amount of “tax” for ground water research that these bills propose. Furthermore, the costs to implement, and the penalties involved, will further burden ranchers and farmers just trying to make a living.

As written, these bills may be interpreted to include domestic water wells. Now is the time to send your comments! I strongly urge citizens to stand up for their rights.

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. These bills are sponsored by Rep. Ken Helm (D-Portland), Chair of the House Energy & Environment committee.

Growing concerns 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 urge water rights holders to email, write, or call, each member of the Energy & Environment Committee to share their thoughts and suggestions.

The best way to make an impact is to attend the hearing in-person, March 22nd, in Salem (900 Court St. NE, Hearing Room-D), at 3:00 p.m. (PDT). It is important for you to send your statements to each member of the committee AND send your statement for record to committee. Written testimony must be submitted prior to the hearing. Please state at the top whether you are for or against the bills and share your reasons why.

I serve on the House Energy & Environment committee. Please notify my office if you are coming in person to testify. 

Copies of these bills can be found on the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) at:

We need to stand together for rural life in Oregon. If we don’t, who will? Please join me in opposition to these bills to be heard this Wednesday.

Your LIBERTY First!


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1456
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-377, Salem, Oregon 97301