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William Gifford: Summers can create unnecessary competition between maintaining river health, growing water needs.

Regarding your recent article, "

Do we have enough water in Oregon?"

This is a worthy question to be asking in a state where drought is a growing concern. However, the article misses the opportunity to discuss viable solutions.

In Clackamas County, nearly 400,000 residents and businesses depend on the Clackamas River for their potable water. Increasingly long and dry summers can create unnecessary competition between maintaining the river's health and our communities' growing water needs.PMG PHOTO: KATE CUADRADO - The Clackamas River is an integral habitat for endangered native fish species before they mature enough to enter the ocean.

The time to start identifying alternative approaches to water delivery is now. Oregon communities should be investing in safe and reliable recycled water solutions in addition to sound conservation measures. Water reuse (also known as recycled water) is wastewater, stormwater or gray water that has been purified so that it can be reused. In Oregon, water is being safely reused for agricultural irrigation, industry, commercial and even construction uses. Reusing water can keep rivers cooler, preventing fish die-offs.

In addition, water features, ponds and recreational lakes can be replenished with recycled water. This helps take less water out of rivers and groundwater.William Gifford

Water reuse builds drought resiliency and sustains economic activity. Just ask our local wineries and breweries about the importance of clean plentiful water. Regional and statewide leaders need to start diversifying Oregon's water portfolio by including recycled water in their strategies.

There's no silver bullet to addressing climate change. It's going to take a variety of smart strategies and policies to ensure Oregonians have access to clean and drinkable water for generations to come.

Bottom line: Recycled water sustains water access for all, keeps costs affordable and builds resiliency. It's just good business.

William Gifford is a resident of Oregon City.


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