Let’s Work Together to Find Solutions for Our Water Supply

Our valley has a rich history of working together to provide and protect our vital water resources.  We need you at the table to find solutions to solve new challenges.

Below is the first opportunity I am presenting for you to sound off about the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan and our next steps to managing water for generations to come.  But first, let’s restate where we’ve been.

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The Problem

As you know, intermittent droughts have kept central Washington facing economic disasters time and time again.  When water is short it hurts our economy and residents, costing millions of dollars to the area.  The idea for a plan is to invest in a solution now to prevent further disasters in the future.

The Basics

In June the Legislature approved the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan.  The plan includes the purchase of 50,272 acres of land in the Teanaway River Valley, a pipeline from the Keechelus to Kachess reservoir, and other improvements to the water supply and fish habitats.

Along with the plan came about $132 million in initial funding.  This funding and the legislation that passed this last session are only the beginning of what is likely a 30 year project.  The real work still lies ahead.

A Unified Plan

The Yakima Integrated Water Plan is the result of years of difficult negotiation and the next step to ensuring that we continue to have an adequate supply of water for our region’s future.  So far, the coalition in favor of the Yakima Integrated Water Plan is strong and united with widespread local and state support in political, agricultural and environmental circles.

My Thoughts on the Plan

I personally have had reservations about certain components of the Plan, but I could not ignore the strength of such a broad consensus among traditional adversaries. It really is unique in the politics of water management.  The plan itself will provide about 60% of our known future water needs, providing a future of certainty to Central Washington.

No, the Plan is not perfect, nor does it resolve all of our future water needs. But it is a positive step forward.  I believe we cannot afford to do nothing and endure another generation of uncertainty.

Where Do We Go From Here?

My next step is to give people like you more opportunity to voice your opinions about the Plan and water resource management in general.  The survey below is one such opportunity.  Understanding how people in the area think about this important issue will help me better serve you.  Look for more surveys like this one in the future.

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