News, Updates & Resources for the Region
Sponsor Highlight: Population Health and the University of Washington's Contributions to the Fight against COVID-19
This article is a submission by PNWER sponsor, University of Washington, and does not necessarily reflect the views of PNWER.
When the University of Washington launched the Population Health Initiative nearly four years ago, it was necessary to explain the importance of studying the intersecting and overlapping factors that influence health and well-being both here and around the world. The Initiative’s cross-disciplinary approach to problem-solving was unusual in a university setting, encouraging researchers to collaborate on projects across traditional departmental boundaries. Today, the relevance of this work could not be more obvious.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on how profoundly important scientific expertise and data are for helping policymakers, business leaders and citizens understand both the scale of the pandemic and the response necessary to address it. From developing treatments and caring for patients to researching the virus and combating misinformation, UW faculty, staff and students are playing an integral role in the global response to COVID-19.
Outstanding work is happening across our university to attack the problem from every angle. Our medical system staff are on the front lines providing extraordinary care to our community. UW researchers have sequenced COVID-19’s genome, identified the architecture and mechanisms of COVID-19, created a new laboratory test to expedite diagnostics, are testing potential treatments, built models to forecast the outbreak’s severity, and are crowd-sourcing a cure. Others are working to slow the viral spread of misinformation about COVID-19, 3D print face shields for hospital staff, locate and donate personal protective equipment, help monitor and understand the emotional impacts of self-isolation and provide resources to families whose kids are suddenly home 24/7. Public health experts are consulting with local governments and businesses about how to safely reopen when the time comes. Faculty and students are showing boundless creativity and compassion as they transition to online learning. Virology researchers are developing and processing antibody tests, computer science experts are developing a contact-tracing app. And the list goes on.
The University of Washington and UW Medicine are proud to serve our community and State as we take on COVID-19. This work would not be possible without support from the state of Washington, the federal government and the private contributions of so many generous individuals.
It is important to note that by its very definition, population health reminds us that the efforts of UW Medicine and the University of Washington are not in isolation – our work is interconnected with the herculean efforts of leaders in every sector of our economy and community. Daily, we are seeing the bravery of frontline essential workers, the tireless advocacy of community leaders and the sacrifice of those who are keeping their businesses closed and staying home. Thank you for all that you are doing personally and professionally to continue to reduce the spread and burden of COVID-19.
In our region, the curve may be flattening, but we are still a long way from the finish line. From improving testing availability and contact tracing capacity, continued therapeutic and vaccine research, and understanding the safest and most equitable ways to reopen the economy, there is still much more work to be done to beat this disease. The University of Washington will continue to serve the community and State as we weather COVID-19 and beyond. By standing together – while physically apart – our communities will defeat this virus and recover from its devastating effects.
After the devastating flood of 1948 near the City of Vanport, the U.S. and Canada partnered to create the Columbia River Treaty (CRT). This Treaty is a joint agreement concerning the development, regulation, and management of the Columbia River to coordinate flood control and maximize hydropower energy production.
The Columbia River Treaty has a minimum length of 60 years that will be met on September 16, 2024, with no specified expiration date. With ten year’s notice, the U.S., Canada, or both may decide to terminate the Treaty. If neither country gives notice of termination, the countries may decide to renegotiate or consider improvements by mutual agreement at any time during the life of the CRT. With no termination, the Treaty will continue indefinitely, except for the Annual Assured Flood Control which expires in 2024. When enacted, the U.S. paid $64.4 million for the operation of the Assured Annual Flood Control through 2024 to be replaced by Called Upon Flood Control to be paid per call.
What happens after 2024?
The Treaty continues indefinitely; however, in 2024, the coordinated flood risk management provision changes to a less-defined approach. In 2024, the Assured Annual Flood Control will be replaced with Called Upon Flood Control. This on-call use of Canada’s reservoirs can only be utilized once the U.S. has made effective use of their own reservoir storage, and Canada must be compensated for the operational and economic cost of each flood control call.
Currently, under the Treaty, U.S. and Canadian entities coordinate to maintain and adjust reservoir levels as needed and to maximize the power generated.
Under the Columbia River Treaty, the U.S. pre-paid Canada for Assured Annual Flood Control until 2024, which denotes that Canada will reserve 8.45 million acre-feet of assured annual water draft at all three of their CRT reservoirs. Under Called Upon Flood Control, Canada is not required to reserve any water draft.
The U.S. and Canada have different perspectives on how the called upon operation for coordinated flood risk management should be implemented after 2024. According to the U.S., the flood control can be called upon once river flows exceed 450,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) measured at The Dalles Dam and only eight storage reservoirs in the U.S. need to be effectively used before the U.S. can call Canada for flood control. From the Canadian perspective, the U.S. can request on call flood control once The Dalles dam exceeds 600,000 cfs and has effectively used all possible storage in the Basin. This ambiguous interpretation of the Called Upon Flood Control will cause implications for quick and efficient flood control.
What happens if the treaty is terminated?
Negotiations for the Columbia River Treaty began in May of 2018. Since then seven more meetings have taken place with the most recent being in September of 2019.
Researched and written by Miranda Harris Hamlin, PNWER Policy Intern. Miranda is currently a senior at Seattle University studying Economics.
PNWER Visits the Capitals: 2020 Meetings in Olympia, Juneau, & Boise Address USMCA, Invasive Species, Transportation, Ag, & More
PNWER kicked off the decade with visits to several of our jurisdictions' capitals last month. PNWER traveled to Olympia, WA, first before heading to Juneau, AK, and Boise, ID. PNWER will visit the capitals of our other jurisdictions, Ottawa, and Washington, D.C. in the coming months. These annual capital visits allow PNWER delegates and stakeholders to meet with key government, legislative, and private sector leaders to discuss issues important to our region.
PNWER in Olympia