The Walla Walla Water 2050 initiative has been authorized by the Washington Legislature as an effort to improve streamflows and water supplies in the Walla Walla River Basin over the next 30 years. The initiative answers the decades-long challenge of meeting the basin's growing water needs for today, tomorrow, and beyond. This project is especially critical as water supplies throughout the state are under pressure from declining aquifers and warming snowpack.
Overlapping the states of Washington and Oregon, the Walla Walla basin is a complex watershed struggling to meet water needs for rural and urban growth and to maintain sufficient instream flows for fish.
The Walla Walla River flows from its headwaters in the mountains of Oregon, through Washington where it converges with the Columbia River near Wallula. Water availability for people, farms, and fish is a problem in the basin, particularly in the summer when demand is the highest.
In 2019, the Washington Legislature tasked the Walla Walla Management Partnership and Ecology to collaboratively develop a 30-year strategic plan for water management in the Walla Walla Basin. Together with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the State of Oregon and stakeholders on both sides of the state border, the partners began this process, dubbed Walla Walla Water 2050, later that year. They released a draft strategic plan for public comment in May 2021. The final Walla Walla Water 2050 Strategic Plan was released in June 2021 and is being implemented by the partners with the assistance of the Walla Walla Basin Advisory Committee.