On the west side of the Cascades, water is a constant, whether it's in lakes, the Sound, or falling from the sky. On the east side, however, water is an increasingly scarce resource. We need to invest in plans that will make sure there's enough water for farms, fish, and our high quality of life.
When Jay represented the 4th district back in 1994, he shepherded the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Phase II authorization through Congress, which worked on water conservation measures in the Yakima Valley. Now a diverse group of stakeholders, including environmentalists, Tribes, farmers, community members, and local governments, are collaboratively working on phase III of the project to develop a comprehensive approach to water resources and ecosystem restoration improvements in the Yakima River basin.
In addition to the Yakima River Basin, there are a number of valuable projects throughout Washington that should move forward to make sure we are adequately meeting the water needs of our businesses, our environment and our future generations.
Today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a $50 million plan to fund water infrastructure projects in the western United States, including more than $4 million designated for six projects in Washington state.
This funding highlights the federal government's commitment to moving forward with projects that invest in the future of fish, wildlife, and agriculture in Washington. In addition to supporting the vital water needs of our state, this funding will spur economic development, create jobs in construction, farming, fishing, and research, and improve the quality of life for the surrounding communities.