Ellensburg Daily Record: Projects in Yakima Basin water plan are moving forward

by Justin Pittman

Staff writer

January 12, 2013

A number of early action projects contained in an ambitious plan to restore the Yakima Basin continue to move forward.

The approximately $5-billion Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan intends to provide more water for irrigators, restore historic salmon runs and improve the general health of the basin. It includes an array of projects ranging from large-scale infrastructure improvements such as dam construction, to habitat improvement and water conservation efforts.

“I would say, in the 30 years that I’ve been working on this project, it’s the fastest and certainly, the farthest that we’ve ever gotten on it,” said Urban Eberhart, a local grower, Kittitas Reclamation District board member and member of the working group that created that Yakima Basin plan.

State Rep. Judy Warnick, who represents Kittitas County as part of the 13th Legislative District, agreed that the effort to restore the Yakima Basin is receiving more support than it has in many years.

“I’m feeling pretty positive that we’re going to get something done,” Warnick said.

Projects

The following projects are some of the highest priority initiatives in the Yakima Basin plan, Eberhart said. The plan contains a number of additional measures such as the construction of two large dams.

“These projects we’re talking about can all happen pretty quickly in comparison to a major dam,” Eberhart said.

The smaller projects can be completed relatively soon and help alleviate water issues while work continues on long-term projects, he said.

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