Teamwork Could Save Agricultural Jobs & Steelhead Population - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Teamwork Could Save Agricultural Jobs & Steelhead Population

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ELLENSBURG, WA -- After years of fighting over water supply, various individuals including Governor Jay Inslee decided it was time to come up with a solution. The answer is the Yakima Water Basin Plan.

Mark Charlton knows what it's like to worry about having enough water supply for his crops every year.

"Can be cut short or curtailed water, and it's a large economic harm and Heaven forbid if you get back to back droughts," said Mark Charlton, a local grower. "It could possibly put us out of business."

These concerns are just a few of the reasons state and local government leaders pulled together and created the 30-year Yakima Basin Water Plan.

The first construction project involves putting piping along Manastash Creek near Ellensburg. The Department of Ecology said this will create additional instream flows to the 4,500 acres of farmland while securing habitat for salmon and steelhead.

"We have three miles of this creek that actually runs dry that we're going to try to deal with," said Gov. Inslee.

"Once it goes dry, everything goes dry," said Johnson Meninick, a Yakama Nation Elder. "We've got to conserve it, utilize it, promote it, get together and help the resources."

The governor praised the importance of working together to find solutions and said this way everyone moves forward.

"Farmers move forward, those who treasure fish move forward, those who treasure open workforce move forward, citizens who treasure the outdoors move forward," said Gov. Inslee.

The total cost of all the projects in the 30-year plan amounts to nearly $4 billion. Those costs will be shared by local, state and federal governments and water users.