– From Gov. Jay Inslee’s website:
“Gov. Jay Inslee today [May 15] declared a statewide drought for Washington. Snowpack is at historic lows, rivers are dwindling and irrigation districts are cutting off water to farmers. State agencies are already ramping up work to relieve hardships from water shortages and the Department of Natural Resources expects more early-season and higher-elevation wildfires.”
“On May 1, the Natural Resources Conservation Service found 11 snow sites in Washington that are snow free for the first time ever. Of the 98 snow sites the Conservation Service measured in Washington, 66 of them are currently snow free.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported in April that 78 percent of streams statewide were running below or much below normal. Some were already at historic lows.”
– WA Supreme Court to hear testimony on a citizen challenging Yelm’s water rights
Sara Foster submitted an Appeal against the City of Yelm and the Dept of Ecology November 18, 2011 to stop the pumping of 942 acre feet of water, every year for 20 years, from the aquifer. She asserts Ecology had just rubber-stamped Yelm’s Mitigation Plan and the city was approved to begin pumping and that this amount has huge environmental impacts to the aquifer. Foster suggests wells of property owners in a vast surrounding area [outside of Yelm city limits] could drop in static level and people would have to drill new wells. She contends the city’s new well (pictured above), even at a depth of 750 feet, would impact Foster’s well “downstream” in the same aquifer less than a mile away, affecting her property.
The WA Supreme Court will listen this Thursday for 20 minutes each to the Dept. of Ecology, City of Yelm and Sara Foster’s attorney, with a decision to follow in a few months.
One has to wonder if the current drought emergency will weigh in to the Court’s decision where Foster appealed Ecology’s granting a more than doubling of Yelm’s water rights, leading to another doubling of the city’s population and ensuing environmental impacts.