Basin Level Datasets for Anticipating

Future Water Scarcity and

Conflict in Oregon


A collaboration between Oregon State University: Department of Geosciences, Portland State University: Population Research Center and Oregon Water Resources Department.

Funding provided by: United States Geological Survey and Center for Water and Environmental Sustainability



By 2025, Oregon’s population is projected to grow twenty-eight percent, adding nearly one million people to the state. As population expands, changes in demographic variables such as income, age structure and employment will influence the nature of future water use in Oregon by expanding claims for water in industrial, municipal and recreational sectors. Independent of population growth, increased claims for in-stream water needs, associated with the implementation of state and federal environmental laws, will further heighten competition for limited supplies. Without strategies to anticipate and address competing water demands, Oregon’s water management stakeholders run the risk of allocating financial, technical, and legal resources inefficiently. Without successful strategies, conflicts over water resources may become more frequent and stalwart as the state’s population grows.

Information accessibility is a critical component to appropriately allocate resources, to understand long term balances of supply and demand and to understand conflict. Action needs to be taken to adapt available data from multiple sources to create datasets that will help facilitate informed water management decisions. Compiled and available within this web site are several datasets pertinent to understanding water demand in Oregon. Each is divided into administrative basins, the Oregon Water Resources Department's management unit. This consistent, basin scale format is essential for analytical purposes.

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Three categories of datasets were compiled to gain an understanding of water resources in Oregon.

•Hydrologic data: Trends in water supply and demand, consisting of three indices: 1) a drought index, 2) a water quality index, and 3) a water allocation index.

• Demographic data: Population structure, income, and employment within hydrologic basins. Each of these variables influence the magnitude of water use in urban and rural communities.

• Hydropolitical data: Organized news reports and legal proceedings as records of conflictive and cooperative interactions regarding water resources.



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Have comments, questions or remarks?

Contact Kristel Fesler via email: feslerk at

Created August 2005