Drought anticipation may thwart Rosewood berry grow plan

ROSEWOOD – As snowpack remains critically low in the Cascade Mountains, anticipated water supply issues may lead to the one-year postponement of a plan to convert most agricultural land in Rosewood to berry patches.

Northwestern Rosewood has long been the agricultural center of Überstadt, but soil quality and weed problems have led to a decline in the production of traditional crops, such as zucchini and tomatoes, in recent years. On the other hand, newer plantings of assorted berries have been very successful in the last two years. The climate and soil of the Puget Sound basin are widely noted among horticulturalists as compatible with the growth of most berry vines and shrubs.

Repurposing the decades-old beds to host berries has been a popular notion for months, especially after the summertime release of agriculture data from the Ministry for the Economy indicating the major success of the expanded cluster of blueberry bushes. The proposal gained official support at the State Opening of Parliament last month, when the King endorsed it in his Speech from the Throne.

The stewards of the Royal Residency, who have legal support for their substantial influence over land use policy in Rosewood, also supported the plan, with the Baroness Rosewood being among its greatest proponents.

It may prove unfeasible to sufficiently irrigate any new shrubs, however, especially during the summer. According to the Washington Department of Ecology, the mountain snowpack which feeds the water supply of the central Puget Sound region is at 9% of its ordinary levels. As a result, municipal water prices in the area will increase and regional irrigation will probably be subject to rationing. This would make it problematically expensive to water the new plantings enough to establish them and produce fruit, even if limits on such water use were not declared.

The King has reaffirmed Überstadt’s commitment to ecological health and the wise use of resources, and has expressed his willingness to postpone the berry venture if necessary. The public at large is also very supportive of whatever action is necessary.

The issue will probably feature in Discussion Time of the February and March meetings of Parliament.