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Tigard, Lake Oswego facing big decisions on water pact

TIGARD - The Tigard City Council ended the year by taking steps toward making a commitment to secure a long-term water supply.

The council on Dec. 18, which was its last meeting for the year, voted unanimously to sign memorandums of agreement with the city of Lake Oswego and the Tualatin Basin Water Supply Partnership to pursue potential water-supply partnerships with both entities.

The Lake Oswego City Council also approved the memorandum of agreement at its Dec. 18 meeting.

'The Lake Oswego water partnership is one of four long-term water-supply options being considered by the city,' said Public Works Director Dennis Koellermeier in a memo to the council. 'Under this option, the city of Tigard would form an alliance with the city of Lake Oswego to expand Lake Oswego's treatment plant and develop additional water rights.'

The city of Lake Oswego has water rights on the Clackamas River, and in June 2006, the two cities funded a study called the joint water-supply analysis to determine the technical, financial and political feasibility of a partnership.

In July 2007, the city councils from the two cities plus members of the Intergovernmental Water Board met to review the study results, and based on the potential advantages of a partnership, formed a work group to study the issue further.

The work group, which is made up of representatives from each of the entities, developed the memorandum of understanding that commits the parties to work cooperatively through staff to develop an intergovernmental agreement detailing the terms of a water-supply partnership, according to Koellermeier.

The MOU also identifies specific issues for discussion, commits to making a mutually agreeable recommendation by June 2008, and pledges mutual support of Lake Oswego's efforts to secure extensions of its water rights.

The proposed Tualatin Basin water-supply project would raise Scoggins Dam at Henry Hagg Lake to allow more water to be collected and stored, and other facilities would be expanded to treat the additional water.

Tigard is a member of the Tualatin Basin Water Supply Partnership along with eight other jurisdictions and agencies, Koellermeier said.

'The partners either have access to water from the current facilities or, as in Tigard's case, would like to participate in the proposed dam raise and expansion project,' he added.

The Tigard council in August approved the third amendment to the supply agreement that includes a title transfer in which the parties would investigate transferring the title of the existing facilities from federal to local control.

'In order to proceed with the transfer, the partnership needs to have a governance structure in place,' Koellermeier said.

A governance task force developed the MOU which contains the following agreements: Continue to pursue the title transfer, continue to pursue the potential expansion of the project, to abide by the principles of the agreement and the governance structure and operating framework developed by the task force, and to work collaboratively on the next steps.

'The council will be asked to make the next decision regarding the Tualatin Basin water-supply project in spring 2008,' Koellermeier said. 'This decision will involve a substantial financial commitment and will be the logical time to decide if the city wishes to continue its participation in the future.'