As of Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Drought history provides warning to Okanogan County
Publisher Roger Harnack mentioned the drought of 1922-31 in his April 22 column.
During that drought, Tunk Creek, springs and wells went dry. Homesteaders abandoned their homes for other places, less vulnerable to drought. Since then, land-use has been almost exclusively grazing. By the mid-1980s, there were less than 30 wells across the valley’s 53,000 acres.
Now, Okanogan County commissioners want to see density increase to one residence per acre along the creek and 5-acre parcels throughout the rest of the valley.
Estimates of human consumption of water vary wildly. The state Department of Ecology estimates indoor household use at least 300 gallons per day. The U.S. Geological Survey reports the average per-capita water consumption per day in Washington is 726 gallons. Regardless, the consumption of water in the 1920s — before dishwashers, etc. — exceeded water availability.
Bovines consume only about 25 gallons per day. Grazing has proven to a compatible land-use in Tunk Valley, given water scarcity. Conservation easements would keep the land in grazing, but commissioners have prevented that.
High-density residential development, as proposed by county commissioners, does not factor in the history of water scarcity in Tunk and other places throughout the county.
California encouraged development where water was sketchy. Big mistake.
County commissioners want high-density development in Tunk despite the fact that there is no fire district in the valley, nor is there adequate ingress and egress. That is just wrong, given last year’s wildfire.
Fire and water — commissioners ignore these at our peril. That applies not just to Tunk, but for much of the rest of county, as well.
One size does not fit all.
Local pit orchestra just cast aside
Regarding the 2015 Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus musical production, I am disappointed with the director and board’s decision to replace the pit orchestra with the out-sourced combo.
Every year, members of the local music community volunteer their time and talent to contribute to this community venture. The usual practice is to begin rehearsing for the next year’s musical immediately following the last concert of a season. This year, however, without any explanation orchestra members were told they would not be needed for this performance.
This break in tradition involving the Okanogan Valley community of performers was a shock, and hurtful to the musicians who have long been a part of the event. I do not understand the sentiment that the musical is less important to the instrumentalists than it is to vocalists, actors, producers and the crew.
If the musical is to be a considered a community venture, why are community members excluded?
Mrs. G. Durkee