Response to questions on Dungeness water management
The following is correspondence between Sequim Realtor and property owner Marguerite Glover, who has been active in the water issues surrounding Clallam County, WA, and elected representatives and the unelected, unaccountable state Department of Ecology. The proposed “water rule” will cut out much in the way of outdoor water usage, and limit indoor water use. “Mitigation credits” can be purchased to obtain more water – from a private company. Be sure to read this article – this is currently happening in Clallam County, WA, but it’s bound to be happening all across Washington State – and has already adversely affected several other counties. For our readers in other states, let us know if this is happening in your area… Editor.
Response to questions on Dungeness water management
I am writing in follow up to your e-mail sent on October 30th to the 24th District legislators. Your email asks two questions:
- How can people in the Dungeness basin learn if they will have to mitigate new water uses?
- How can people find out if mitigation credits will be available for new uses?
I hope you know we welcome your interest to learn and share accurate information with your neighbors, land owners and other Realtors. You’ve done a great service in your work to raise awareness about the many important water issues and initiatives happening in the Dungeness. The more people know about how new water management will work, the more secure they will feel.
Here’s my response to your first question – “how can people learn if they will have to mitigate for new water uses?”
o The new proposed rule does not prohibit new outdoor lawn and garden watering.
o Properties that currently are using water to irrigate lawns and gardens won’t be affected by the new proposed rule. These people can continue using outdoor water however they have in the past.
o Properties that are not currently using water for domestic use or outdoor lawn and garden watering would need to obtain mitigation credits if they would like to begin a new use of water for lawn/garden irrigation or other outdoor uses. This includes both new homes and existing homes.
Here’s my reply to the other question – “how can people find out if mitigation credits will be available for new uses?”
o Mitigation credits will be available from the Dungeness Water Exchange. Clallam County has contracted with Washington Water Trust to set up and operate the Water Exchange. Once a rule is adopted, the best way for finding out if mitigation will be available for a specific property is to contact the Water Exchange.
o Determining whether mitigation water is available for outdoor watering must be done on a case-by-case basis. We have a rough idea of where we believe it will be easier to find mitigation for outdoor use, but not clearly mapped zones. Also, the places where mitigation is available for outdoor irrigation will probably change over time.
o I believe mitigation credits will be available for most areas of the basin, including the Cassalery Creek subbasin shortly after a rule is adopted.
o Mitigation for the lands in the upper basin above the irrigation network has not yet been identified. New homes built in that area will be able to tap into the “water reservation” to serve their indoor domestic water needs. These sites will be free to gather and collect rainwater from roofs and store the water for outdoor irrigation. For a longer term solution, local natural resource leaders are discussing options for innovative mitigation.
We are working with Clallam County on steps needed for smooth implementation of a new rule. One identified need is helpful written information including more maps. Unfortunately, the draft map you obtained through the public records request is not very precise and therefore not all that helpful. It was prepared with limited data and it gives only a general snapshot of information. As you know, we chose not to complete and post it because we worried it would create more confusion than lend clarity. Rather than continuing to refer to the draft map, I encourage you or specific parcel owners to contact us or the County, or Washington Water Trust.
As you have more questions about the proposed rule, please direct them to Ann Wessel at Ann.Wessel@ecy.wa.gov . We really do appreciate your questions so we can clarify things that are unclear or uncertain.
Regional Director |Southwest Regional Office |Department of Ecology
Marguerite Glover [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:15 AM
To: Hargrove, Sen. Jim; Tharinger, Rep. Steve; Van De Wege, Rep. Kevin; email@example.com
Subject: Still need an answer, please
Senator Jim Hargrove
Representative Kevin Van De Wege
Representative Steve Tharinger
Commissioner Jim McEntire
Dear Jim, Kevin, Steve, and Jim,
I hope that all of you are well, and having a bit of time to rest and enjoy your families, in this hectic election season.
We still have some issues with the Dungeness Water Management Rule. But, there is one issue that I have not yet received an answer to. And, I am hoping that I can get one.
The WA State Department of Ecology has said that not all properties within the WRIA 18 East area will be able to irrigate outside, if they are not already doing that. They have a map; but, it has never been released by them, or put on their website. It was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and it was a draft. Additionally, there are some in the Cassalery Creek sub-basin who may not be able to get outside water, initially. But, I don’t know if that was ever decided or not. There are a number of properties in that sub-basin that do NOT have access to irrigation water. I continue to receive inquiries from property owners who wonder if they are in the “no outside watering area.” I show them the map I have. But, is that the real map? Is it accurate? People need to know. Clallam County has done a great job, producing a parcelized map, showing people if they are in, or out of, the WRIA 18 East boundaries. We really appreciate that.
It is odd that there are some properties outside of the irrigation boundaries that seem to be able to have outside watering (ie, purchase that right from the Water Exchange). While other parcels, right next to these properties, do not have that right. Why is that? Most of the upper watershed is bedrock. And, the properties of that “aquifer” (isolated pockets) are not well known.
Now that the Rule will be filed in November, your constituents really need to know if they will be able to have a horse, or a garden, in those areas outside of the irrigation diversions.
Thank you for answering this important question for me, and for those in the WRIA 18 East Watershed.
Marguerite A Glover
Sequim WA 98382
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