Columbia River supply project

Since its inception, NOWA's key focus has been on developing water supply infrastructure and obtaining water rights to deliver Columbia River water to Critical Groundwater Areas across the Umatilla Basin. This undertaking has required work of many agencies, organizations, individuals, and business, as is rooted in years of relationship building. NOWA's plan calls for the construction of three pipelines to provide mitigated Columbia River water as an alternative water source to growers in the Umatilla Basin. 

local definition of success

  • Secure use of 500 cfs of Columbia River Water (0.0025% of average daily flow). The original 500 cfs goal was negotiated down to 180 cfs for the first phase


  • Construct pipeline and pump infrastructure to deliver mitigated water to Critical Groundwater Areas in the Umatilla Basin

desired outcomes

  • Alleviate pressures on over-appropriated groundwater and Columbia River tributaries
  • Support large and small acreage owners
  • Encourage innovation
  • Generate increased economic activity and job growth for the region
  • Guarantee commitment and access to future long-term Columbia mainstem projects
  • Build a customer base for regional partnerships in Northeast Oregon

nexus to basalt bank effort

NOWA's efforts to create and support a Basalt Bank Task Force effort hinge on an alternative water supply. The Umatilla County 2050 Plan and its predecessors, have all stated the importance of gaining access to Columbia River water as a sustainable alternative to groundwater pumping. Access to Columbia River water will allow growers to decrease pumping pressues on basalt aquifers in an effort to sustainably recharge and store grounwater in Umatilla County.