The planned Thornburgh Destination Resort near Redmond is asking to amend its proposal because of water use.
Monday night, several community members gathered at a Deschutes County public hearing, all with a similar thing on their mind.
“Nobody here understands those charts, but they do understand that we are running out of water, and the time is now to start making substantial changes ourselves,” said one commenter.
“We can live without a lot of things, but we can’t live without water,” said another attendee.
“I don’t think we need any more strain on our water, and that means all of us, the fish, wildlife, the farmers,” said another attendee.
“Water is already over allocated in our area,” said another.
The resort, planned to be built near Eagle Crest, is asking to amend the final master plan and the Fish and Wildlife Management Plan (FWMP).
“It’s one of several mitigation plans to ensure any negative impact on fish and wildlife resources will be completely mitigated so there is no net degradation of the resource,” said Deschutes County senior Planner Caroline House.
The applicant’s proposal also included reducing the resort’s water use, agreeing not to build one of three golf courses and new alternative water rights and mitigation requirements.
Several experts gave brief presentations representing the resort.
“You’re freeing up space in one location to use the space on that train somewhere else, so that is exactly what Thornburgh is doing,” said Civil Engineer Jim Newton.
“We saw an increase in habitat quantity and an improvement in habitat quality,” said Fish Biologist Lucius Caldwell.
The public was also given a chance to speak.
The resort has no more right to water out of the ground than the man of the moon,” said Attorney Carol Macbeth with Central Oregon Landwatch. “They have no water rights.”
“Watershed is not some indoor plumbing water project with interchangeable pieces, but an incredibly delicate and complex system that is too fragile to tamper with,” said a local farmer.
The testimony and the presentations were given to a county hearing officer, who will decide at a later date.