Roundtable to focus on water management plan

— Congressman Dan Newhouse will host a roundtable with members of the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project to highlight the collaborative development and implementation of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. Nov. 24 in the Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive.

The roundtable discussion will focus on collaboration between farmers, ranchers, tribes, irrigation district, conservationists, municipalities, and state and federal agencies.

Newhouse, who represents Central Washington from the U.S.-Canada border to the Washington-Oregon state line, is working with Rep. Dave Reichert on legislation for Phase III of the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project.

According to Newhouse, the current water supply in the Yakima Basin is unable to meet existing human and environmental needs. Repeated droughts and a shrinking snow pack exacerbate an already acute problem.

The water plan will improve the reliability of water supply for irrigation, and other out-of-stream uses, while simultaneously rebuilding fish runs, improving stream flows, and protecting headwater areas, Newhouse said.

The project comprises of a diverse group of farmers and ranchers; irrigation districts; county and city governments; the Yakama Nation; conservation organizations; and state and federal agencies.

Newhouse said the stakeholders have collaborated to develop solutions that will increase water supply in the basin for out-of-stream and in-stream uses.

The plan will put people to work, enhance the competitiveness of Yakima basin farmers, and strengthen the local economy while building salmon runs, increases recreational opportunities, and protects critical resource lands for generations to come.


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