Our water supply in the Pacific Northwest is becoming increasingly affected by climate change through reduced snowmelt, higher temperatures and drought (Climate Risks in the Northwest).Many Oregon farmers using surface water for irrigation were cut off early during the 2015 growing season. Furthermore, many new farmers have trouble finding land with unrestricted irrigation rights. Looking ahead, up to a 50% reduction in summer water availability is predicted in Oregon within 50 years. In response, the 2016 Growing Resilience: Water Management Workshop Series (funded by an Oregon SARE Mini-Grant) was designed to increase our knowledge and awareness of drought mitigation tools, strategies for navigating water law and restrictions, and techniques for growing with little or no irrigation. Several sessions have been offered so far:
- Growing without Irrigation: Interested in learning more about how to grow fruits and vegetables with little or no water in the Pacific Northwest? This session covers site selection, dry farming tools and techniques for orchard and row crops, soil hydrological principals, and the power of seed saving in dry farmed systems.
- Innovative Approaches to Catching and Storing Water: Are you navigating limited water supply on your farm? Learn from multiple case studies and examples about innovative approaches to catching and storing water on your farm.
- Navigating Oregon Water Law and Restrictions in Northwest Oregon with Mike McCord, Joel Plahn, and Harmony Burright of the Oregon Water Resources Department covers:
- Water master duties and responsibilities in the NW Region
- How and why regulation of water rights occur
- 2015 Regulation specifically Mary’s River and Luckiamute River
- Obtaining new water to build a pond, use BOR water or use groundwater. Alternatives like transferring water rights
- Significant Points of Diversion, Meter Requirements
- Groundwater limited areas
- New Water Resources Development Program
Weren’t able to attend in person? No worries! These sessions have been video-recorded and posted on our website (http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/wmws).
The next scheduled session for the 2016 Growing Resilience: Water Management Workshop Series will be, ‘Water, Soil and Carbon for Every Farm with Keyline Design: Learning from the world’s driest inhabited continent and it’s drought solutions, with Australian Permaculture Consultant, Darren Doherty (Regrarians Ltd.) – coming up on June 2nd!
In addition, the Dry Farming Collaborative participatory research project is initiating this spring!