By John Stokes, chair, Cascade Water Alliance, for the Auburn Reporter
Cascade Water Alliance has been making sure each of you – nearly 400,000 residents and 20,000 businesses – has safe, clean and reliable water every day for the past two decades.
Since 1999, our members, the cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Tukwila, Sammamish Plateau Water and the Skyway Water and Sewer District, have been working every day to provide water of the highest quality in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective way for you.
And while all you may know is that when you turn on the tap water is there, we are proud of how we have made that happen – and will continue to do so.
Regional collaboration is not always easy – but at Cascade, we make it work. Our members work together. And we work with other water providers throughout the region to prepare for whatever water-related challenges our region might face. We know what needs to get done to ensure there will be as little disruption to you as possible, and together we are doing it.
What does that entail? For over 20 years, it has meant developing and advocating for critical pieces of legislation addressing land use, creating new authorities to better serve you and instituting fire and liability protections for your providers. It means working with Seattle, Tacoma and Everett to determine what might happen in the event of an earthquake and what we must do to keep water flowing to you. It means purchasing and maintaining the first new municipal water supply in this state in decades – Lake Tapps in Pierce County – and maintaining it as a healthy reservoir in the event we ever need it for future water supply.
It means being a good neighbor within our Cascade member communities. Our partnerships with Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett have enabled us to plan ahead and move our region forward together. And working with the cities of Auburn, Bonney Lake, Buckley and Sumner protects the Lake Tapps reservoir as an important regional asset. We work closely with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians to maintain healthy river flows that protect fish and the environment. We work with Lake Tapps homeowners to ensure the lake remains a beautiful recreational resource for all to enjoy while at the same time being a critical future water supply reservoir.
You know the water that comes out of your tap will be safe, clean and reliable. You don’t have to think twice about it – because we do – every day. Cascade and its members plan to keep it that way through regional leadership, partnerships, collaborations and planning for the future. Water is fundamental to keeping our communities viable, economically stable and growing. Clean, safe, reliable water benefits us all – residents, businesses, the environment, the economy and recreation.
At our 20th anniversary mark, Cascade and its members have put in place strong regional agreements that will continue to protect water supply now and in the future. You can rest assured that when you turn on the tap now and into the future, there will be delicious water. Today, and, as a result of our investments and planning, tomorrow.
Happy birthday, Cascade.
John Stokes is chair of the Cascade Water Alliance and a Bellevue City Council member.