Deep wells lead a race to the bottom for Oregon's groundwater.

Managing and mismanaging Oregon’s groundwater

Oregon officials managing the state’s groundwater supplies have fueled crises and inequities, leaving the state ill-prepared to meet the growing challenges of drought and climate change. OPB’s Emily Cureton Cook tells us about a series of stories she is working on looking into the management of groundwater across Eastern Oregon.

Tundra swans spend the winter at Summer Lake State Wildlife Area in Southern Oregon's Lake County, Feb. 18, 2022.

Emily Cureton Cook / OPB

Race to the bottom: Draining Summer Lake

Oregon has protected land at Summer Lake Wildlife Area since 1944. Water is another story.

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Oregon regulators are supposed to safeguard sustainable water supplies, but instead officials managing groundwater have fueled crises and inequities, leaving the state ill-prepared to meet the growing challenges of human-caused climate change and drought. Is it too late to stop a race to the bottom?

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