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© Pete Saloutos/Panoramic Images (Washington Title Image Large)

Water Quality and Supply in Washington

The growth and development of the state of Washington has been accompanied by, and perhaps been dependent upon, controlling the flow of water. Construction of dams, levees and dikes has provided flood control, electricity and water for irrigation. But it has also resulted in significant declines in riparian ecosystems and the species dependent on those systems. These impacts continue today.

Meeting the water storage needs for a growing population, particularly in light of climate change projections, may pose additional risks for species and ecosystems. Our reliance on snow-pack as the primary means of water storage will be tested, resulting in the need to look for alternatives, such as building new reservoirs. The placement of new reservoirs, or increasing the storage capacity of existing reservoirs, will place some components of biodiversity at increased risk.

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