Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kittitas County and Ecology to Enter into Talks on Exempt Wells: Aqua Permanente Petition Conditionally Denied

Mike Johnston of the Daily Record reports in today's edition that the county commissioners have agreed by a 2-1 vote to enter into talks with the Department of Ecology concerning exempt wells in the county. Quoting from Mr. Johnston"s article:
"Commissioner Alan Crankovich, during the Friday meeting with Ecology Department officials, said the AIP [Agreement in Principle] only pertains to Upper County and doesn't commit the county to undertaking any land-use action -- it only lists the issues and topics the county and state will attempt to reach agreement on."

"[Derek] Sandison [of Ecology] said the AIP allows the DOE to conditionally deny a requested moratorium on more exempt wells sought by the citizens group Aqua Permanente because it allows the state to seek an alternative to a shutdown of well drilling. The moratorium can be reconsidered, he said, if agreements break down."

On its website, Ecology describes the agreement.
"To better understand water supplies in the region, Ecology has agreed to seek funding to study underground (groundwater) sources in those portions of the county not fully covered by current U.S. Geological Survey research. While studies are under way, the agreement provides that:

* A long-term water management program will be developed based on the results of the groundwater study.

* New interim water management measures will be developed including data collection, notice to prospective property buyers and developers regarding potential limitations to groundwater supplies, educational materials for existing well users, and standards governing the use of exempt wells in western Kittitas County.

* Ecology, Kittitas County and other water right holders will develop and implement a mitigation program allowing the purchase of water to offset the impacts of exempt wells."