Planning for Resiliency In Molalla’s Drinking Water System

It’s been difficult to witness all of the devastation happening across Oregon, especially in the forest and rural lands that encompass the Upper Molalla Watershed, and it’s been inspiring to see the community react and work to change outcomes when the threat was most imminent. Our thoughts go out to families in the community impacted by fire and hope that our Drinking Water Source Assessment and Protection Plan can help guide further actions to minimize impacts from this and future events that may put the drinking water systems at risk.

Since we had our last outreach meeting in May, we’ve been working hard to incorporate the input we’ve received from both the public and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) into the Resource Analysis portion of our assessment of the Molalla Drinking Water Source Area. Throughout those discussions we’ve talked about wildfire and its potential for impact to drinking water, but we’ve generally looked at it in terms of future impact as predictions show summer temperatures getting warmer and drought conditions worsening.

The sudden change in the watershed has caused us to dramatically reconsider how we plan to prioritize and recommend actions to address threats to drinking water source quality in our draft Source Water Protection Plan as wildfire and the potential for it to deliver sediment to the drinking water system has become a reality.

We’ve entered the final two phases of the assessment process where we’ll engage the Technical Advisory Committee around a proposed framework to address the threats to drinking water. This analysis will be the foundation of the Source Water Protection Action Plan.

Once completed we’ll be reaching out to the public again for input and to start to identify areas where we might bring funding to address important issues in the watershed. Look for updates in the coming month as we start to complete the plan and work to make changes on the ground.

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