Two local workshops will gather ideas about valley’s future
Methow Valley residents are invited to immerse themselves in the future of water for the valley.
How do you see the Methow Valley in 50 years — in particular, what do you see our water being used for? Should it go to farming? To houses? To help businesses grow? To tourism? To fish and wildlife?
We live in an arid environment where most of our water comes from melting snow. If this water grows ever scarcer, as many models predict, how do we want to use that precious resource? How do we protect the clean water in our rivers and streams?
The Methow Watershed Council is launching a community-wide conversation to brainstorm about these crucial questions. Called Water 2066: A Vision for the Methow, it’s intended to bring together varied perspectives on water to plan together for the future.
Because water can be contentious — a topic that can wind up in court if water users don’t find middle ground — the watershed council has conceived Water 2066 as an effort “to step back from the current water-use disputes and plan for the future.”
To guide the discussion, the council has developed questions about water use and water management. Some things to think about:
• Do you know how much water you and your family use? Do you know how to find out?
• Do you know the laws governing the Methow watershed? Do you know where the boundaries of the watershed are?
• How much water do fish need? How about crops? Businesses? Towns?
• How will climate change affect the Methow Valley?
Members of the watershed council, along with interested community members and county officials, have been pondering these questions — and beyond — for more than two years. Now they want to hear from the whole valley.
They’re hosting two workshops to share information and solicit ideas from the public. There will be a short presentation followed by interactive workshop stations that will help community members describe, in as much detail as possible, how they see water in the coming decades.
There are four main goals for Water 2066:
• identify specific areas where community members agree — and disagree — about their vision of the water supply for the Methow Valley.
• identify pathways to reconcile disagreements within the community and among water users and decision makers.
• identify significant challenges to implementing each shared value.
• determine the next steps needed to make the community vision a reality.
The council hopes to produce a final report by March 31, 2020. They’ll provide the results to governments, regulatory agencies, sovereign tribes and nonprofits to inform water-management plans and actions.