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Redmond Leaders Concerned Over Water Use Permitting

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond is leading an effort to stop implementation of a proposed statewide water rule. “All the cities are working on it in central Oregon through the central Oregon Cities Organization. Redmond is kind of at the lead because we have a current permit with (the Oregon) Water Resources (Department),” Mayor Ed Fitch says his city learned a standard application to access more groundwater would be rejected under limitations proposed by the Water Resources Commission, “We have objected to that, and we have come up with a plan that would allow cities to access groundwater they need for the future with strong measures of conservation.”

Fitch tells KBND News he understands ongoing drought makes it necessary for the state to protect some shallow aquifers in other parts of the state, but not here. “Deschutes County is unique in that our aquifer is five times or more bigger than any other aquifer in the state,” he says adding many stakeholders are concerned, “It's a big issue that's being played out. The legislature is being involved; the governor's office is involved. So, we're hopeful that we can reach some type of rational accommodation on making sure that we have access to water. But doing it in an appropriate manner.”

City leaders met Wednesday to review the local proposal before presenting it to the state.

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