This past summer was a scorcher in the Pacific Northwest. Not just hot, but brutally dry.  In fact, the State of Washington had declared a drought even before summer began, and Governor Inslee called these conditions “unlike any we’ve ever seen.” 

Apparently climate change denial is still a thing. But after 2015, the deniers are getting harder and harder to find, at least in this region.

As you can imagine, drought conditions affect fish, wildlife and human populations dramatically. We all need water to survive and thrive. River and stream flows dropped dramatically, putting severe strain on the environment and the economy. It’s a profound problem, and like me, you may have wondered what we can possibly do about it. You may not have realized that small, specialized nonprofits are in fact doing something about it—and making a big difference.

Public Interest Management Group's client Washington Water Trust is an organization that uses creative approaches to preserve stream flow, restore habitat and fight back against drought conditions. Founded in 1998, this quietly efficient organization acquires water rights, manages water banking programs and consults on water conservation issues to help landowners, municipalities and utilities improve river conditions and minimize harm in times like this.

Washington Water Trust Project Manager Amanda Cronin highlights the dire situation in the Dungeness River, one of many impacted by this year’s drought. Cronin interviewed with NPR affiliate KOUW in a recent story on the Trust’s work. Photo: EarthFix/KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Washington Water Trust Project Manager Amanda Cronin highlights the dire situation in the Dungeness River, one of many impacted by this year’s drought. Cronin interviewed with NPR affiliate KOUW in a recent story on the Trust’s work. Photo: EarthFix/KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

The Water Trust’s leadership has recognized a need to grow to meet needs that are expected to increase in the years and decades ahead. PIMG worked with the Water Trust to develop a business plan for growth through the sizzling summer—a backdrop that could not have been more dramatic. This plan presents a framework for greater impact and long-term sustainability. The Water Trust now has five-year growth projections, a revamped organizational structure and a set of implementation steps that will roll out sequentially over the coming months and years.

Washington Water Trust’s Board Chair, Rick Kirkby, says that the planning process “will provide a more sustainable business model and give us the capacity to grow and better utilize our financial and personnel resources. The professional services PIMG has provided have allowed us to more clearly focus the issues, discuss them with critical input, and evaluate alternatives that we may not have considered on our own.”

In challenging times, the bad news often gets the headlines. Washington Water Trust is a great story about one organization’s good fight, with tangible results. PIMG is thrilled to see our client preparing for a bold future.