Oregon's Water
spring runoff
Back to Oregon's Water
A Model River
Oregon relies heavily on water from surface lakes, streams and rivers. This means that much of the state's water supply depends on natural rainfall and snow. On average, Oregon gets 28 inches of precipitation a year (about the same as Texas). Of those 28 inches, 70% will eventually runoff the landscape and reach the ocean. That leaves only about 8 inches a year. Some of that water will evaporate into the atmosphere. A little will filter into the earth, recharging underground aquifers. But humans will use up most of the water.
This feature tracks the progress of water from its arrival in Oregon until it reaches the sea. All along the waterway, you'll learn how people divert and use water for a variety of purposes.
Notice that the width of the river changes when water is used. See how each diversion affects the supply of water and then consider the long-term sustainability of Oregon's water-use habits.