This bill requires Water Resources Department to establish grant program for purpose of sharing cost of remediating reductions in amount of ground water available for domestic personal use in Greater Harney Valley Groundwater Area of Concern due to over-allocation of ground water for agricultural use. May award grants for costs related to the replacement, repair or deepening of the wells or pay the cost of direct services of a water well constructor.
The measure establishes the Domestic Well Remediation Fund Separate from the General Fund and continuously appropriates funds to the account. WRD anticipates $612,411 needed. WRD may award grants for costs related to replacement repair or deepening of wells. Grant payments may provide up to 75% of the total cost of replacing, repairing or deepening the well, not to exceed $10,000 per well and up to $3,500 for well abandonment.
The Greater Harney Valley Area is a drainage basin located almost entirely in Harney County, including Malheur Lake and Harney Lake. In 2015, initial ground water level data analysis and aquifer recharge estimates indicated annual ground water use and other discharge likely exceeded annual recharge in the Greater Harney Valley Area. The Oregon Water Resources Commission adopted a rule to limit pending and new applications for ground water uses in the Malheur Basin that went into effect on April 15, 2016. The Commission also established the Greater Harney Valley Groundwater Area of Concern (GWAC) to ensure that ground water in the area was appropriated within the limits of available water resources and to maintain reasonably stable ground water levels to protect existing water users. HB 3092A would require WRD to establish a grant program intended to share the cost of remediating domestic personal use wells in the Greater Harney Valley GWAC due to overallocation of ground water resources, establish the Domestic Well Remediation Fund, and appropriate $500,000 to WRD to deposit into the Fund for remediation purposes.