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New Dams would enshrine water waste, taxpayer bailouts - and destroy Ancient Forest, Shrub-Steppe Habitat

Water waste by irrigators in the Yakima basin is driving plans for new irrigation insurance dams in the Yakima Basin – including a Bumping Lake dam that would destroy ancient forests.

Sierra Club is committed to water supply solutions and fish passage that involve common-sense water management.

We believe that in the face of climate change, aggressive water conservation, adoption of water efficiency standards and metering, water markets, low-impact storage projects (e.g., aquifer storage and recovery), forest and flood-plain restoration, and other strategies to promote natural storage are much more cost-effective than new dams, and could vastly improve the efficiency of water use in Washington State.

The historic, massive hydrologic re-engineering of Washington’s rivers using dams and irrigation projects has caused historic environmental damage. We strongly urge decision-makers to focus on future water projects that fix existing problems, not cause new ones.

We oppose any new storage projects on the Yakima River and its tributaries, including the Bumping Dam Enlargement (Large or Small Option), Wymer Dam (on Lmuma Creek), and Black Rock Dam. DOE and Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) identified numerous possible measures for improved water conservation, including measures in the No Action Alternative and the Enhanced Water Conservation Alternative of the January 2008 Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study Draft Planning Report/Environmental Impact (Draft Report). The conservation measures of these alternatives should be implemented before there is any further study or action on new storage projects.

                Yakima Water Future

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Sierra Club campout at Bumping Lake.  Here, 2000 acres of Ancient Forests are threatened by a proposed irrigation dam.   Sierra Club advocates for sensible solutions to water scarcity and for salmon passage.   Karl Forsgaard photo.