Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program logo header
Finding Balance
Over time, as more streams have become affected by water shortages, values have come into conflict, not just in the Columbia Basin, but around the West and across the country. There are two major ways of responding to such challenges.

The ideal approach works from the ground up, rather than from the top down. It involves local people managing their own destinies through voluntary efforts that balance community values. These kinds of efforts can achieve outcomes that reduce or eliminate the needs for regulations.

The alternative is a regulatory approach. Since water shortages in some streams have had significant consequences for salmon, trout, steelhead and other creatures, regulatory approaches are becoming more common, but these are unpopular because of their inflexibility.

"Instead of fighting, we three Basin irrigation districts found a way to keep 25 cubic-feet-per-second in the Walla Walla River for fish. Now the River's seeing steelhead rear year around in reaches where they haven't for over a century. We're working hard to get this water protected so it stays in the River. It's clear to us that if we want our families to farm far into the future, there has to be water for the fish, too."
- Ron Brown, Apple Grower & Board Member, Walla Walla Irrigation Dist.