Oregon Water Justice Alliance mark

Oregon Water Justice Alliance

Water for nature and communities

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Our Mission & Goals

The Oregon Water Justice Alliance (OWJA) promotes healthy instream flows and stable groundwater levels for ecosystems and essential human needs.

We are Water Protectors — river-dependent community members who champion water policies and funding models that restore healthy fish populations, uphold Tribal beneficial uses of water, and empower sustainable communities to thrive.

Water Allocation Policies

Advance, improve, and implement state and related federal water allocation policies for (a) freshwater ecosystems and people who depend on them and (b) the human right to water for essential domestic needs.

Improve funding

Improve public water-related funding to ensure that public resources do not reduce the amount of water available for fish, and to the extent possible, increase instream flows.


Provide solidarity and support for water justice advocates, issues and campaigns.

Who We Are

Fighting for water justice in Oregon

The Oregon Water Justice Alliance is a voluntary collective of Water Protectors – Indigenous people, rural residents, fishers, boaters, environmental stewards, and other stakeholders – coming together to resolve the injustices at the root of our growing water scarcity issues for nature and people. Water Climate Trust currently serves as its administrator. Project membership is informal. We seek allies who are interested in collaborating on aligned campaigns, and who share our vision, and mission, and agree to work collaboratively toward our goals.

We believe those who show up and do the work should make the important decisions. We currently hold monthly online meetings to discuss and advance shared campaign priorities and are honing a model for participatory decision-making. To learn more and plug into the alliance, please email [email protected].

Founding Member Groups

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Maqlaqs Paddle

Ríos to Rivers

Water Climate Trust

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Water League

2024 Campaign Priorities

Oregon Groundwater Rulemaking

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to curb wasteful groundwater pumping that harms aquifers and interconnected surface waters. The Oregon Water Resources Commission is overseeing the Water Resources Department’s codification of well permits and pumping limitations. Public support for curbing agriculture and other industries’ wasteful use of public trust water is critical to improving the outcome.

Oregon Water Action Plan

Engage Oregon decision-makers on advancing a statewide water plan that prioritizes water allocation justice for Tribes and fisheries. This Water Security Advisory Report from Oregon’s Secretary of State and Audits Division sets the stage for a justice-centered Water Action Plan but stops short at developing a timeline for advancing its recommendations. A strong movement for it could finally upset the power imbalance that so heavily favors agriculture and industry.

Movement Building

A key long-term priority is building the collective power of Tribal and other communities that are struggling to meet water quantity needs for their people and local ecosystems. We do this through relationship-building, community outreach, water allocation education and advocacy training, and solidarity. For information on upcoming training and advocacy engagement opportunities, get in touch.

Strategic Planning

With water scarcity identified as a growing crisis throughout the state, we are very interested in learning more about the biggest threats to freshwater ecosystems and communities that depend on them and working together to design effective protection campaigns. Engaging in dialogue, planning, and campaign implementation with impacted and concerned communities will be an ongoing effort.

Economic Justice

Provide stipends and mentorship for BIPOC youth/young adults to engage in flows and fisheries research and advocacy ($5,000 annually).

Water Funding Principles

Government grants for ‘environmental’ waters projects rarely require that recipient projects actually result in net gains for instream flows, and many even harm instream flows at the expense of consumption and efficiency ‘improvements.’ These water funding principles are designed to support funding agencies in assessing and prioritizing better streamflow impacts.

Oregon Water Justice Alliance

A replicable model for freshwater streamflows and equitable water access

OWJA will focus on state and federal policies and practices that influence Oregon’s instream flows and groundwater with a goal of advancing ecological recovery and equitable access to water for human consumption. However, many of these issues are either related to federal law and/or applicable in other states. There is room for expanding the geography with sufficient interest from activists in other states.


Donations made to the Oregon Water Justice Alliance via Water Climate Trust are tax-deductible. Donations made from this page will be tracked and fully dedicated to supporting the Oregon Water Justice Alliance’s work.

To learn more or make an offline donation, please contact Water Climate Trust’s Engagement Director, Stephanie Tidwell, at [email protected].

Get Involved

Are you an aspiring water justice activist? OWJA is currently offering stipends and mentorship for BIPOC, youth, and others from water justice communities to research a water allocation issue and engage in community and/or ecosystem advocacy. Far too often, decisionmakers focus on eliciting diverse engagement only to ignore the equity component of DEI – much less informed consent. If you or someone you know has been wanting to get more involved but lack the resources to do so, you can fill out and submit a short application for our Water Justice Stipend and Mentoring Program HERE. Someone will get back to you within a week.

Message us at [email protected] to learn more about opportunities to work together for more sustainable and just water allocation policies and practices.