Clean, manageable water could slip through our hands.

September 2018

Washington group says $4 billion needed up front

Water is our most precious and abundant natural resource. It sustains human, animal, fish and plant life. Industries from agriculture to manufacturing rely on it. And it protects public health, provides recreational activities and generates electricity.

Pierce County is rich in water resources – approximately 1,100 miles of fresh and marine water shoreline, four major watersheds and 157 named lakes.

But today Washington’s water is threatened by population growth, increased development and outdated systems for managing it. Drought, flooding, contaminated drinking water and limited supplies are more frequent. And aging water facilities such as dams, levees, pumps, tanks, and storage and treatment plants are at best inadequate.

Here in Pierce County, we see issues such as toxic blue-green algae blooms that plague Lake Steilacoom and failing surface water ratings in parts of the Nisqually and Puyallup river watersheds. Elsewhere, we’ve seen everything from a flood that put Interstate 5 under 10 feet of water in Chehalis, to droughts that harm Yakima Valley agriculture, to threats to our $180 million-a-year shellfish industry.

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