Skagit County, WA - 8/28/02 -
Meetings aimed at providing a water
allocation for rural Skagit County were
described as productive by some of the
Skagit County officials are meeting
with their counterparts from Anacortes,
the Skagit County Public Utility
District and the local tribes to change
an agreement that allocates water out of
the Skagit River.
When the agreement was approved by
the state in 2001, it was missing an
allocation for rural well users. The
county commissioners say the lack of
such an allocation will stop development
in areas outside those now served by the
PUD and Anacortes.
Commission Chair Don Munks, who
represented the county, said there
wasn't much substance in the discussions
held on Thursday and Tuesday.
"The bright spot for me as a
county commissioner is the other three
parties - the tribes, PUD and the City
of Anacortes - were all willing to do
whatever it takes to make sure the
county's needs are accomplished without
having to go through the legal
means," he said.
If the county can't negotiate a
change with the other signers of the
agreement, it can ask the state
Department of Ecology to change the
allocations. If that fails, the county
can go to court next year.
Munks said he didn't expect that to
Ken Kukuk, general manager of the
utility district, described the meeting
as productive and not combative.
There was "a lot of movement and
not a lot of fire," he said.
"We're moving forward."
Larry Wasserman, who represented the
tribes at Tuesday's meeting, agreed.
"We're optimistic we'll find a
solution," he said.
The 2001 agreement allocates water
not only to the utilities and the
tribes, but also gives a water right to
the Skagit River, setting a minimum flow
level to provide for fish passage.