Many are feeling the impact of the drought. It seems we would not be in this situation if there was a secondary source of water. Currently our irrigation needs are provided from a single source, the Yakima River, which includes reservoirs at the headwaters in the Cascades.
The system relies on a substantial snow pack to slowly melt over the summer to provide adequate amounts of water. To counter droughts, planning has centered on maintaining a single source.
We would not be experiencing the water shortages if the Black Rock Reservoir had been built and was operational. Black Rock would have used Columbia River water to supplement Yakima River water. Water would be pumped into the reservoir during peak flow times and winter months and used for irrigation, salmon recovery, etc.
The estimated cost of both the single source system and Black Rock are similar, however Black Rock could be functional in a much shorter time frame than the piecemeal approach of implementing the single-source system.
Elected officials should realistically review the need for this secondary water supply. It would be money well spent to have the insurance of a secondary system versus placing all eggs in a single basket.
J. John DeMyer