Water rights: Can city, county share?
The city is one of several stakeholders in the state's Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) process, whereby allocations for people, fish and other water consumers is determined.
City Councilor Freida Fenn said Aug. 9 that
Councilor Michelle Sandoval felt that the county should not be singled out for blame. "We [the city] have failed to participate" in the WRIA process, she said. "We need to be collaborative." Sandoval said she wasn't sure if she could support more development in the Chimacum Creek basin because she doesn't know if it's feasible in terms of water.
Fenn suggested that the city host a workshop with the affected tribes, governments and other interest groups to explore the issue, but Councilor Geoff Masci suggested that such a workshop would simply duplicate the WRIA process.
Tuesday morning, County Commissioner Pat Rodgers, who represents South County, said Quilcene simply wants the ability to provide fire protection and clean, healthy water. Port Townsend's water comes from the mountains outside of Quilcene, he noted, adding that Fenn's comment suggests another agenda.
Commissioner Dan Titterness, who represents Port Townsend, said it's the Washington Department of Ecology that has failed local governments with WRIA. "It really is their responsibility – they're not doing it," he said. As to Fenn's comments, he said, "I have an opinion but my opinion has no more validity than hers."
The preliminary policy adopted by council with Frank Benskin dissenting
is to support current and higher in-stream flow restrictions on the
Big and Little Quilcene rivers and the need for further groundwater
development in the Chimacum Creek basin and other areas.
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