Yakima Herald-Republic: Manastash accord shows how a water deal is done

Editorial Board

March 7, 2013

A long journey consists of many single steps, each of which takes an entity in the desired direction. Similarly, what may appear to be a tiny step in Kittitas County could point the way for a stronger future throughout the Yakima River Basin.

More than a decade in the making, a $7 million project on Manastash Creek, west of Ellensburg, will ensure irrigation water for farmers and conserve water for fish — a win-win for all the parties involved.

On a fisheries scale, the project stands to offer tiny yet tangible benefits for fish in the Yakima and Columbia rivers. On a political scale, this effort can serve as a model for arriving at agreement on a $5 billion Yakima River Basin plan that, like the Manastash project, entails ensuring irrigation rights and fish conservation. An additional component of the basin plan, of course, is expanded water storage — a much more complex issue.

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