Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
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We need to protect our water from exploitation from
Greedy corporations and other states who waste and pollute
vast amounts of water resources.

Oregon's Water Resources

I would like to re-visit a Tammy's Take which I wrote many Takes ago.The Take speaks about the hidden aquifer that has been kept secret by the US Forest Service and scientists for years. The hidden aquifer Oregon has is in the Cascades and just how important this water source is to Oregon and possibly the nation. And how California has been after this water source for years and why we as Oregonians must not allow California or the Southwest to tap into this source. These states have over used, wasted and polluted huge water sources in the past and continue to do so. So why should they be considered to tap into ours while they keep exploiting other water resources.

While timber and recreation use to be Oregonians most valuable resource in the Cascades this may not be true. Oregonians most valuable resource is not visible and people do not even know it exists. It is hidden in the beautiful cascades. Scientists from the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State University have in recent years quietly realized that the high Cascades in Oregon and far Northern California contain an immense subterranean reservoir which is as big or bigger than any man made water reservoir ever constructed. The secret stockpile stores close to seven years' worth of Oregon rain and snow and is likely to become increasingly precious, even priceless, as population increases and climate change continues to define drought as a normal occurrence.

The reservoir hides within volcanic rock -which is less than 1 million years old and is considered as young in geological circles, Plio-Pleistocene age or younger. the volcanic rock is in the highest reaches of the Cascades. The rock is so full of cracks and fissures it forms a kind of vast geological sponge. Oregon's heavy rains and snows falls into the rocks which soak up the moisture and fills the natural reservoir.

Oregon is known for its rains but because of the unique geology of the area we are able to retain the moisture which is captured. It is the largest mountain systems known in the entire planet. Some of the water escapes constantly from the hidden reservoir, pouring from springs into rivers like the McKenzie, Deschutes and Clackamas. Many of the rivers flow into the Willamette, keeping the river full of water even when mountain snow that feeds many other Western rivers is long gone and the rivers are just trickles.

Having year around water availability puts Oregon in a better position to combat climate change. But as Oregon is faring better than other states it also puts Oregon on the radar for other states wanting to tap into our aquifer. Southwest states have already thought of a plan to pipe water from the Columbia River to their regions.

The reservoir lies mostly in Oregon and the Cascades volcanic rock is relative young and porous while the volcanic rock in the Washington cascades are older and more dense or the Miocene age. T Scientists are studying the system to examine the potential effects if drought hit regions such as California and the Southwest someday seek to extract its water. We must protect this water system, we have seen how California and other Southwest regions have depleted huge water systems in their area by waste and over usage.
While it is estimated that this reservoir holds as much water as Lake Mead the world's biggest man made reservoir, many believe that it is even larger with water still holding in cracks. While Lake Mead suffers through the drought and shows less than half full Oregon's reservoir is not impacted.

Another interesting fact is one spring pours out a full 1 percent of the summer volume of the Willamette River about 43 million gallons a day, enough to supply almost half of Portland's year-round water needs. These springs are luckily not on any maps allowing their secret location to be kept. Its location will be kept secret as the Nestle Corporation and other bottled water companies would like to capitalize on its where abouts and exploit the resource for corporate greed while ordinary people either go without water because they cannot afford it or pay outrageous prices for the privilege of a drink.

Just because we have a secret water source we need to everything we can to protect this valuable resource from exploitation and contamination, the water in this system has been stored for decades. As long as Oregon receives rainfall Oregon will survive any drought that will impact other states.

The groundwater out of the high Cascades system is also distinguished by its high quality. The dozen or so places in the Cascades where "gushers or strong springs emerge are known for the clarity and sapphire blue or emerald green of their waters. and as climate change continues our survival may depend on it, so we must look into the future and start devising a plan now to protect this system from exploitation and waste. Just because we have vast amounts of water available does not mean we should waste or allow some to pollute any natural resource.


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