Bringing Common Sense to the Issue of Water & Land
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    Building your dream home? Adding a mother-in-law apartment? Water is resource now under the control of the State Department of Ecology, subject to mitigation fees and metering of your well.
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    Planting a garden or orchard? For outdoor watering, a separate mitigation package must be obtained, starting at $2,000. Outdoor watering is no longer available in many areas for an undetermined amount of time.
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    Would you like to own a couple of horses? In some areas, this will no longer be possible with the new water rule where only domestic water use is permitted.
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    Thinking of starting a lavender farm? The $2000 basic outdoor watering package allows for only .06 acres of irrigated area and $3000 extended watering package allows for only .13 acres of irrigated area.
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    Own property in the green area? Water is presently available only for domestic use with other use water projected to be available in the summer of '13. Own property in the yellow area? Water is available only for domestic use in the foreseeable future, no other uses permitted.

 County asked to join lawsuit

Board member, Kaj Ahlburg attended the March 17 BOCC meeting and delivered the following comments in response to the letter Commissioner McEntire received from Ecology on March 3 which was a reply to his letter sent to Ecology in January.  Commissioner McEntire’s January letter included several suggestions of how to use already appropriated Capitol Budget funds turn the “yellow” area (those parcels where water is not available) green. In his comments, Ahlburg suggested the County join ORPC’s lawsuit or file an amicus brief supporting it, read more here.  

ORPC files lawsuit challenging Dungeness Water Management Rule

December 31, 2014 – A Petition for Declaratory Judgment has been filed with the Thurston County Superior Court to determine the validity of the Dungeness Water Management Rule by the Olympic Resource Protection Council (ORPC).  ORPC has been critical of the rule because of its significant and  unnecessarily costly impacts on Clallam County residents seeking to utilize their properties in a manner that is consistent with established county land use designations and planning policies and with the private well exemption under Washington State water law.

The decision to file a lawsuit comes after ORPC’s earlier effort  to address ORPC’s concerns in a more conciliatory manner by utilizing an administrative process. In January 2014, ORPC filed a petition to amend the Dungeness Rule with the Department of Ecology (Ecology).  ORPC had hoped this good faith effort to work with Ecology would address concerns raised in the petition and would result in   bringing back to the table all stakeholders in order to craft a balanced, lawful and effective water management rule for the Dungeness Basin.  Ecology responded by denying ORPC’s petition to amend in March 2014. After Ecology’s denial, fundraising efforts commenced to fund ORPC’s challenge of the Dungeness Rule in court.

ORPC believes that there was improper or inadequate procedural compliance for the Dungeness Rule and that Ecology exceeded their statutory authority, failed to comply with the water code, and implemented a rule that was arbitrary and capricious.  As a result, the Dungeness Rule has caused widespread uncertainty, created direct conflicts with local land use planning authority and imposed significant regulatory and transactional costs that are out of proportion to any identified benefits.  

ORPC advocates for clear, fair and responsible regulations and seeks to balance environmental protection with property rights, recognizing the importance of both. 

ORPC is represented in this matter by Seattle attorney, Thomas M. Pors.   

DOE map for sidebar

Are you in the affected area? Click this map to find out.


We need your help!

Submit a donation today to help fund ORPC’s legal efforts to bring balance to the issue of water and land. Contact Greg McCarry at 360-509-0633 or Kaj Ahlburg at 360-565-1146 for information about how you can help with our efforts or donate below.

Donations can also be mailed to ORPC:

350 West Washington Street, Suite 3

Sequim, WA  98382