Last week the rural property owners of Skagit County attended a packed Lincoln Theatre in hopes of learning something new, some type of hope that a solution to the exempt well moratorium is in the works. Their hopes were dashed as Department of Ecology’s Tom Loranger agreed that there’s plenty of water here.
The Skagit River is the third largest water source on the west coast, with the Sacramento River and Columbia River besting our beloved Skagit at the top. The well dependent property owners in Skagit County are not the only people concerned over this issue. Properties affected by the moratorium have lost 70% of their value, which means that the costs of paying for Skagit County’s public services and infrastructure will lie heavily upon all the private property owners in Skagit County. Like the San Joaquin Valley, Skagit County is a bread basket of agricultural acitivity and an invaluable economic resource to the entire State. The Skagit County CAPR chapter is working hard to bring political leaders and the residents of Skagit County together to talk, listen and share their concerns, in hopes of working towards a solution.
At the last Water Woes forum held at the Silver Reef Casino in July 2014, DOE’s Tom Loranger admitted that there’s plenty of water in Western Washington, that there’s maybe two or three weeks out of year that water levels drop below the required median flow…so what’s the problem? Some say the problem exists because of bad science. Others question the County’s and DOE’s lack of leadership as numerous landowners see their property devalued and unsaleable. Many question why their fate has been left in the hands of local tribes to litigate and deny them access to the water on their property, while the tribal fishers net the rivers with little concern to its effect on future salmon runs. And some believe that by denying rural property owners access to water that the declining fish populations will miraculously be solved.
Whatever the problem is…the Department of Ecology works for the taxpayers and the taxpayers deserve better than presentation after presentation. The people deserve a public agency that answers questions, defends them and transparently works for real solutions.
~ Kris HaltermanSVH article “Fighting for Water” 2011 SC Commission ltr to Gregoire DeMay comments “Where will water for rural landowners come from?” SC residents not pleased with Ecology Newman Comments