Western States Water Council

A Voice for Water in the West 


State of Oregon Recruiting for Oregon Water Resources Department Director

The State of Oregon is recruiting for the next Director of the Oregon Water Resources Department. The Water Resources Director is the chief administrative officer of the Water Resources Department. This role executes department policies and enforces the state water laws. The director reports to the Governor and directly supervises the Deputy Director, division administrators, and one administrative assistant.  The director sets policy on agency administrative, and enforcement matters and on matters delegated by the legislature and the Water Resources Commission. The Director has sole responsibility for managing the state’s water rights adjudication process and is the state’s chief negotiator in discussions with the federal government and tribes over the extent of Native and federal reserved water rights in Oregon. The Director is ultimately responsible for overseeing formulation of water policy recommendations to the Water Resources Commission and Governor that will set the course for water management across the State for decades to come. Already, Oregon is experiencing water availability challenges with resource resiliency being tested by changing climate and ongoing drought conditions in significant portions of the state. The next Director of the Water Resources Department will be challenged to guide Oregon’s strategy for balancing key instream and consumptive uses that are critical to the needs of the State’s natural and working landscapes, recreational interests, fish and wildlife needs, and water-dependent ecosystems and economic interests.

Oregon’s management of water resources is at cross-roads in which the historical water management paradigm of all western states is increasingly challenged by new social, economic, cultural, and environmental realities. In this setting, Oregon is seeking an innovator who possesses the administrative experience and social skills necessary to pragmatically and effectively implement water policy while simultaneously making the changes necessary for effectively managing this resource that is fundamental to the future of our state.

For more information about the position and to apply, please visit the State of Oregon Jobs page here:

The application deadline for this position is currently 8/14/2023. Note that this position is appointed by the Governor and must be confirmed by the Oregon Senate.

To learn more about the agency, visit www.oregon.gov/owrd.