October 2, 2013
Sometimes you can be too close to something to realize how big that something is.
That may or may not be the case with the Teanaway land sale being celebrated today with an event starting at 2 p.m. at the Swauk-Teanaway Grange on Ballard Hill Road.
The state has purchased 50,000 acres in the Teanaway from American Forest Land Company for $99.3 million The purchase in itself is big — the single largest by the state of rural lands in more than 45 years.
But as big as it is, it is part of something even bigger — the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan.
The water plan is huge — roughly $4.2 billion when or if all the components are completed.
It is big because it satisfies multiple needs and concerns — environmentalists, irrigators, fish and wildlife.
The plan originates with the needs of our region, but encompasses much more. A Kittitas County-centric view would emphasize improved and enhanced water supplies. This region is both agriculture-dependent and drought-vulnerable. The need to address water supply has been long running, but attempts to address it always have been stalled.
The reality is we may need more water supply, but we cannot finance that project locally. Over the years our local people have realized that and started to build the relationships needed to bring other people, agencies and organizations on board.