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3/12/2019 President Trump joined by Congressional leaders to sign S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, into law. Newhouse pictured fifth from the left. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Moses Lake’s congressional representative Dan Newhouse was a first-hand witness to President Donald Trump’s signing of a farm bill that’s critical to the prosperity of farmers in Kittitas County and beyond.
 
On Tuesday, Newhouse and several other politicians and presidential staff were in the president’s Oval Office during the signing of H.R. 1048. The aforementioned bill authorizes phase III of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan. The initiative is designed to foster better accommodations for farmers, conservationists, residents and other stakeholders in the Yakima River Basin region. 
 
“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. Newhouse. “Not only does the success of this legislative effort show the way forward for bipartisan, bicameral cooperation, but it highlights the years-long work of state and local stakeholders, the agriculture community, irrigators, conservationists, and tribes as part of the Yakima Integrated Plan Workgroup and Implementation Committee. I was proud to work across the aisle with my colleagues to get this water solution bill for the Yakima Basin across the finish line.”

Specifically, the Yakima River Basin Plan would:

  • Provide greater water supply reliability for farmers and communities.
  • Secure the water that communities need to meet current and future demand.
  • Protect over 200,000 acres of currently unprotected forest, shrub steppe, and river habitat.
  • Enhance habitat along the Yakima River and its tributaries.
  • Implement water marketing and banking so that water is more easily delivered when and where needed.
  • Build fish passage to allow salmon, steelhead 

The Yakima River Basin is one of the leading agricultural regions in Washington State and throughout the country. The orchardists, wine grape growers, and other members of the agricultural community inject approximately $3.2 billion into Washington’s economy and support countless jobs in the area. However, the demand for water in the region currently exceeds the resources available, especially during times of drought, which have hit the state especially hard in the past few years. As a result, water use has been restricted for junior water rights holders - or individuals who obtained water rights in 1905 or later – during times of shortages.

With researchers predicting that drought seasons will only become more common and get worse as snowpack in the mountains continues to decline. 

Newhouse and his constituents say action needed to be taken so that stakeholders in the Yakima Basin can continue operating without having to worry about whether or not they will be able to water their crops or their backyard garden.

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