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Groundwater outlook bleak

FORUM

I always enjoy showing friends my garden this time of year and the variety of agricultural crops in our area. After all, with water we can grow just about anything in a desert.

Living at the confluence of the Columbia, Yakima and Snake rivers, our water supply seems unlimited. Unfortunately, it is not.

About 70 to 80 percent of our state’s surface water supply comes from mountain snowpack. The climate shift to winter rainfall in the Cascades will severely impact this storage system over time. According to the Department of Ecology, much of the naturally available summer flow in the Yakima basin was spoken for more than a century ago, leaving little to no buffer for growth or drought.

The outlook for groundwater in our region is equally disturbing. An extensive study of our Columbia Plateau regional aquifer by the USGS (Report 2012-5261) showed water levels in wells declining on average 1.9 feet per year.

Innovative water storage and reclamation projects are needed, but we also must address our changing climate that is driving this problem.

The Citizens Climate Lobby has proposed a revenue-neutral fee and dividend legislation that uses the power of the marketplace to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Go on-line to learn more: (http://citizensclimate-

lobby.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/04/Carbon-Fee-and-Dividend-April-2014.pdf).

Please urge your Con-gressional representatives to act.

/s/ Ellyn Murphy, Richland

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