Yakima Basin water plan legislation

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and other members of Congress watch President Donald Trump sign legislation including the Yakima Basin water plan on March 12.

A land-use and natural resources bill that contains authorization of Phase III of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan was signed into law March 12 by President Donald Trump.

“The future of our region’s agriculture economy depends on access to water storage, and with President Trump signing Central Washington’s legislation priority into law, today is an exciting day for everyone in the Yakima River Basin,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., after the signing.

The bill, S. 47, which included HR 1048, the Yakima plan, is the result of years of work by farmers, irrigators, conservationists and tribes, Newhouse said.

The legislation passed the Senate Feb. 12 and the House on Feb. 26.

The 30-year, $4 billion plan is intended to boost habitat and water in the Yakima River Basin for fish while providing an additional 560,800 acre-feet of water through greater storage for irrigators. The goal is to provide junior water right holders with 70 percent of their allocation in drought years.

The basin's annual agricultural economic value, farmgate and processed, is estimated at $3.5 billion.

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