Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Forecasting the water future of Washington state

By Dan Partridge, Communication Manager, Water Resources Program

This week’s question on the Water Smart Washington Online Forum (Question No. 4) is about forecasting the water needs of the future.

Washington state’s population is expected to grow by about 1.7 million people in the next 20 years. That’s equivalent to three cities the size of Seattle! Where will these people live and how much water will they need?

Collecting and analyzing data about water supply and demand trends is called “supply and demand projecting.”

Question of the Week #4 asks:
“Should Washington state make investments in water supply and demand projecting to not only determine how much water will be needed for population growth but also for economic growth and fish habitat?”

The past three weeks, we’ve focused on watershed planning and also have asked for your opinions on fees for water management services, i.e., who should pay, and how much? The three questions of the week generated more than 6,200 views and 116 comments. We appreciate all the feedback!

For some background information on Question No. 4, read about the Columbia River Basin Water Management Program.

To participate in the forum go to Ecology’s home page and click on the Water Smart Washington logo.

The comments and discussions on the Water Smart Forum are helping us prepare for the upcoming Legislative session. We’re working to reform Ecology’s water management practices to meet increasing demands for water in a time of limited new water supplies.

We recently put our recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Water Resources Program in a report to the Legislature and the Governor: 2010 Report to the Legislature and Governor: Water Resources Program Functions and Funding Structure: Recommendations for a Sustainable and Efficient Program.

The report identifies a number of efficiency improvements and makes specific recommendations for making the Water Resources Program more self–sustaining and less dependent upon State General Fund dollars.

We’re asking for your feedback on this report, as well.

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