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Washington Water Trust, a neutral, nonregulatory nonprofit, exists to improve and protect stream flows and water quality throughout Washington. So fish, agriculture, business and wildlife—upon which we all depend—can thrive. Since 2005, we have protected 28.282 billion gallons of water instream
We've improved stream flows by using innovative, market-based transactions and cooperative partnerships to create balanced solutions. In Washington, many streams run completely dry during late summer due to irrigation for agriculture. Washington Water Trust works with landowner to design more efficient methods of irrigation, changing time or place of their irrigation to keep water instream during critical migration, spawning or rearing seasons. We lease or purchase water rights from the landowner during these periods to compensate them for water kept instream.
Increasingly, society’s demand for water is exceeding supply. That, coupled with climate change, means that our water supply is declining at an accelerating rate in basins such as the Yakima, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Okanogan, Dungeness and Skagit. Late summer, in fact, when cool, ample flows are needed most, many of our state’s streams run low if not dry, making fish passage of already imperiled species fatally impossible.
In 2012 alone, we protected 5.048 billion gallons of water instream, enhancing more than 421 miles of river.
• In the Teanaway River in central Washington, we have combined mitigation banking with restoration efforts to double conservation gains.
• In Salmon Creek in the Okanagon Valley in north-central Washington, we have improved 31 miles of river habitat. As a result, steelhead have returned to spawn for the first time in nearly a century.
• In the Touchet River, southeastern Washington, we have kept 1.9 million gallons of water instream benefitting bull trout, steelhead, reintroduced Chinook salmon and other wildlife—all while keeping agricultural lands in production.
• On January 2, 2013, we launched the Dungeness Water Exchange, which will benefit streams and aquifers, mitigate for new water uses, and support sustainable restoration.