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.

ORPC reacts to Hirst Fix

The Washington State House and Senate reached a deal and passed SB 6091 on January 18, 2018, which fixes the 2016 Washington State Supreme Court ruling known as the Hirst decision. Governor Inslee signed the Hirst fix legislation on January 19, 2018.

The Hirst decision mainly applied to in areas where the was no mitigation plan in place.  In the Dungeness, there is an existing mitigation plan.  Accordingly, Hirst had no direct impact on our Dungeness Rule area and its resolution has no benefit to the Dungeness area.

  • The issues that ORPC has raised in its legal challenge to the Dungeness Rule still remain:
  • By over appropriating 190 cfs as a water right to the River the appropriation effectively closed the Dungeness basin to new wells without mitigation.
  • The Dungeness river at the critical fish migration season flows at a natural rate of approximately 100 cfs.  Therefore, the Rule appropriated approximately 90 cfs that does not exist in most years.
  • By comparison,  Ecology’s own estimate is that full development of the Dungeness basin would have an impact of 2 cfs.
  • Ecology should have done a net benefit analysis in the Dungeness to assign water to people, businesses, agriculture and fish, whereas Ecology only considered fish.
  • Further, State law required Ecology to conduct a four part test that they failed to do.  An important element of the test is that to assign a water right, the water must exist and the 90 cfs volume does not exist.
  • Finally, the Dungeness Rule still has the yellow area south of Hwy 101 where no outside water is allowed.

Unfortunately, the Hirst fix approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor did nothing to resolve the issues that ORPC raised in its challenge to the Dungeness Rule.

Read more about ORPC’s efforts to bring common sense to the issue of water and land here.

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, Kaj Ahlburg at 360-565-1146 or FaLeana Wech at 360-461-4099 for information about how you can help with our efforts or donate below.

Donations can also be mailed to ORPC:

190 Port Williams Road

Sequim, WA  98382