Crosscut, Seattle’s nonprofit news site, published an article last week on innovative water transfer project being undertaken at Local Roots Farm, a small farm in the Snoqualmie Valley and a neighbor of Oxbow.
Jason Salvo and Siri Erickson-Brown of Local Roots piloted a program this spring that has given them greater water security in this drought-stricken growing season.
Crosscut describes the project:
Long before the drought, Local Roots wished they had more water to help them through the normal July-August dry spells. Aware that many property owners in the valley weren’t using their water rights, they teamed up with the Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance to come up with a solution. After delicate negotiations, the pilot project began this spring. If a group of property owners agrees, as expected, the pilot will also see owners tax themselves $3 to $4 per acre to pay for administration of the project. Details are still being ironed out. But the pilot would become a rare example of a rational mechanism to navigate the dense thicket that’s defined water law in the West since the 19th century.
As it turns out, this year was a good one to pilot the transfer project, as farms throughout the Valley, regardless of water rights, struggle to keep fields irrigated and plants growing happily in unseasonably hot and dry conditions.