Old problems, no new answers
I have lived in the Methow Valley since July 1979. Seems like we are rehashing the same tired arguments regarding water and land again. The Department of Ecology, etc., say we don’t have enough water to allow further development although the percentage of residential water use is less than 1% of the allowed 2 cfs amount. We don’t live above underground lakes, we live above underground streams and rivers. If you don’t use that water, it keeps right on going down to the rivers.
Residences do not “use” water in that it somehow disappears if it comes through the plumbing in my house. Residential water goes into septic or sewer systems, which recycle that water back into the underground streams/rivers. Residential doesn’t use surface water either, so nobody is slurping up water the fish need.
So why do we keep fighting with the state/federal/county organizations over uses that are less than 1% of the allowed water for the Methow Valley? It is really getting very aggravating. Restricting residential water use is being used to stop development, even when it makes no factual sense at all.
When the county commissioners stop me from being able to subdivide my land and put water on it because of their continuing ordinances, that makes my land impossible to sell and therefore worthless. Are they going to give me a year’s relief from property taxes while they continue to study the non-problem?
I suspect Mr. Rapport’s My Turn essay titled “Road trip to the previous century” was intended to display his earnest compassion and concern for what he describes as the hopeless residents of many small eastern Washington towns; however, I am not sure how he made the leap from boarded-up stores to an assumption of residents who are now “hopeless, lost and addicted.”
I am native of one of those small towns he recited and am not familiar with a hopeless, lost and addicted population. Yes, many of these communities are struggling to adjust to a world impacted by “Amazon, Microsoft, the internet in general,” but is this not also true of larger urban areas? Mr. Rapport acknowledges the “well-funded and secure” wheat farms of the Palouse, yet does not seem to recognize the largely thriving communities of Moses Lake, Othello, much of the Yakima Valley and even Okanogan County? Yes, many of the small towns he refers to — Davenport, Soap Lake, Almira — are surely very different from Mr. Rapport’s memories of years gone by, with struggles that may have been unimagined during their earlier thriving days.
Mr. Rapport concludes that he did not see these communities “reborn by hope and some means to a way of life, if not prosperity.” I have to assume that he did not slow down long enough to talk to people with an objective of gaining a true understanding of the community.