By Editorial Board
December 31, 2013
As the year comes to a close newspapers across the nation list their top stories of the year and reflect on what did and did not happen in the community.
One notable characteristic of the annual top story list in Kittitas County is stories tend to linger from year to year.
There is a legitimate argument to make that water is the top story every year. The presence or absence of an adequate water supply is the primary variable in the county’s agricultural economy — from snowpack to ill-timed rain. That doesn’t change from year to year. Add in the growing threat and occurrence of wildfires and the snowpack/rainfall index takes on an even greater importance.
This year’s top story may not be “the weather,” but the state’s purchase of about 50,000 acres in the Teanaway is directly connected to the water supply issue in the Yakima basin. The purchase is part of the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan. As big as the $99 million purchase of Teanaway property is, it is just one component of the massive $5 billion basin plan.
The plan’s aim is to boost stream flows to improve environmental and economic stability in a basin that has struggled with periodic droughts and long-standing conflicts over water rights.