Watermasters Change

The Oregon Water Resources Department is shifting watermaster responsibilities on the South Coast in order to more effectively serve the public with limited resources, distribute workloads across the state, and better support staff in their water management and distribution efforts.

Beginning on Jan. 1, District 15 Watermaster Susan Douthit will begin serving areas in Coos County, while District 14 Watermaster Scott Ceciliani will expand coverage to include all of Curry County. In addition, a regional assistant watermaster is being hired to assist watermasters, water users, and other members of the public across the Department’s Southwest Region offices. No changes are being made to the Southwest Region’s District 13 boundaries. A map of the new watermaster district boundaries in the Southwest Region is included below.

The Department will hold open houses in Curry and Coos Counties early in 2020 to provide a forum for water users, local government, watershed councils, realtors, and other members of the public to meet their watermaster, exchange information, and answer questions.

Watermaster District 15 will cover Coos County and the Umpqua River basin, spanning both Douglas and Coos County. Susan Douthit, the District 15 watermaster, can be reached at 541- 440-4255 or by email at Susan.M.Douthit@oregon.gov. Douthit’s main office is located in Roseburg at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 S.E. Douglas Avenue, Room 306.

Douthit will be available to meet at the watermaster office in Coquille located at 225 N. Adams on Mondays and Tuesdays of the first and third week of each month. Individuals seeking to meet with the watermaster or assistant watermaster should call ahead of time to verify availability.

Watermaster District 14 will cover the lower Rogue River basin and other basins in the South Coast, spanning both Josephine and Curry Counties. Scott Ceciliani, the District 14 watermaster, can be reached at 541-261-2213 or by email at Scott.C.Ceciliani@oregon.gov. Ceciliani’s main office is located in Grants Pass, upstairs from Josephine County Planning at 700 N.W. Dimmick Street, Suite A.

Ceciliani will be available to meet with water users Thursday and Friday of the second and fourth week of the month at an office in Gold Beach provided by Curry County and located at 94235 Moore Street. Individuals seeking to meet with the watermaster or assistant watermaster should call ahead of time to verify availability.

A regional assistant watermaster will also be available at 541-297-6157. The Southwest Region office is located in Medford and can be reached at 541-774-6880.

With some exceptions, a water right is required in order to use water in Oregon. The Oregon Water Resources Department is the state agency charged with allocating and distributing water. The Department’s watermasters and other field staff provide the public with technical assistance on water rights and water laws, measure streamflows, inspect wells and dams to protect public safety, and distribute water according to water rights on record with the Department.

For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/owrd.

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Mt2

Please do more reporting on this issue! This press release has no mention at all of what our area is losing: a dedicated watermaster on-site in Coos and Curry. Why is a watermaster position being removed from our area in order to add a new watermaster to the Salem area? Rural people deserve representation and expertise as well. The Oregon Water Resources Department needs to be held accountable for the fact that they are removing important rural positions while making no changes or sacrifices to their many levels of management.

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