Water / Agua
A shortage of water is one of the top three most serious environmental problems facing the world today and a lack of access to clean and safe water is one of the world's leading health concerns. With 70 percent of the population of Oregon living in the Willamette Valley and the extensive need of water for irrigation of agriculture, it is important to understand water needs within the valley. The Willamette River basin is recharged each year with precipitation and snowmelt, but water levels are continually changing due to differences in the amount of precipitation and water used1.

In 1997, the USGS published a study evaluating the shallow groundwater of the Willamette Valley basin2. They revealed that there was significant chemical loading of the water in nearly all of the wells surveyed, with several containing high nitrate levels and a third containing one to five pesticides2. While there were causes for contamination linked to historical and geological conditions, these two findings relate specifically to agriculture due to the contribution of non-point sources of these products2.

In 2004, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality created the Southern Willamette Valley Groundwater Management Area in order to restore the groundwater quality to a region that has had significant levels of nitrates in the water3.

Water / Agua Translation Needed

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Willamette Valley Water Subtopics / Temas de Agua del Valle de Willamette:


1. Conlon, T., Wozniak, K., Woodcock, D., Herrera, B., Fisher, B., Morgan, D., Lee, K., and Hinkle, S. (2005) Ground-Water Hydrology of the Willamette Basin, Oregon. Available at pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2005/5168/ (accessed July 2009).
2. Hinkle, Stephen (1997) Quality of Shallow Ground Water in Alluvial Aquifers of the Willamette Basin, Oregon, 1993-95. Available at or.water.usgs.gov/ (accessed July 2009).
3. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (No Date) Water Quality: Groundwater Protection Program. Available at www.deq.state.or.us/WQ/ (accessed July 2009).

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