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.

Ecology Denies ORPC’s Petition

On March 18th, ORPC was notified that Ecology denied our petition.  Although it has been very disappointing and disheartening to learn that our good faith effort, with broad community wide support, to work with Ecology has been denied; rest assured that ORPC will continue to pursue its goal of arriving at a lawful, balanced and effective way to manage our water resources.

Ecology Petitioned to Amend Burdensome Water Rule

On January 21, 2014, the Olympic Resource Protection Council (ORPC) filed a petition with the Department of Ecology (DOE) to amend the Dungeness Water Management Rule.

ORPC has been critical of the rule because of its significant and unnecessarily costly impacts on Clallam County residents seeking to develop or redevelop their properties consistent with established county land use designations and planning policies. Given the recent ruling by the WA Supreme Court in the Swinomish v. Ecology case, ORPC has further concerns regarding the lack of legal authority for the rule.

In summary, ORPC states that DOE’s recent approach to instream flow rulemaking has caused widespread legal uncertainty.

ORPC urges DOE to amend the rule and work with all stakeholders to craft a balanced, effective and lawful water management rule for the Dungeness Basin.

ORPC has asked  DOE to use its alternate, existing reservation authority to set aside a sufficient quantity of groundwater, as required under the Water Resources Act, to meet the demand for domestic water under the County’s long-range land use planning instead of utilizing “overriding considerations of the public interest” (OCPI) to create a reservation. Ecology’s current use of the OCPI exception was rejected by the Washington State Supreme Court in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Skagit County decision in October 2013.

The petition process is afforded under RCW 34.05.330 and requires the agency to provide a written response within 60 days of receipt. Under this statute the agency must choose one of two alternatives: it can deny the petition or engage in rule-making. If they deny the petition, they must specify its reasons for the denial and specifically address concerns raised in the petition. Where appropriate, the agency must indicate alternative how the agency will address the concerns raised in the petition. Read ORPC’s petition here.

 

DOE map for sidebar

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


How can I help?

Pledge your support and help us encourage the Department of Ecology 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 may also be mailed to ORPC:

350 West Washington Street, Suite 3

Sequim, WA  98382

 


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