How is that Hirst Fix working out for ya? In Spokane County, the answer is shamefully, woefully, not well! Spokane County's response to the latest in fix for Hirst, 6091 which is now session law, is to go ahead with a questionable water bank that will be severely intrusive and seriously devalue properties with covenances stating restricted water use, and requiring an easement for the property right of the air space above your home so you may be monitored for enforcement purposes! 6091 fails by many miles, far short of the much needed oversight of Agencies and Local Government that a well-constructed constitutionally based bill should have. Ecology has written with the help of Spokane County Commissioners, Water Resource Managers and Aspect Consulting a systemic method to deny the people of Spokane County the dignity of living in a free society where water law is equitable and privacy in your home and on your land is a thing of the past. Seriously. Take the time to read the ordinance linked below, it is chilling. And shameful, and unconstitutional, and just plain wrong. Is this the kind of mitigation and Water Resource Management Projects your legislature had in mind when they passed 6091 and gave Ecology 300 million dollars to accomplish? Is this how water rights will be fixed? Unacceptable!
From the below linked document.
"3. Applicants agree to sign a property covenant limiting domestic water use and associated noncommercial outdoor irrigation from a groundwater source exempt from permitting requirements of RCW 90.44.050 to the quantities designated on the Mitigation Certificate; and
4. Applicants agree to provide an avigation easement to be used by the County in the enforcement of this Ordinance."
Here is the Ordinance that the county will receive 3 minute testimony for on Tuesday Feb 6 at 2:00 pm. 1026 West Broadway Ave, Spokane. The hearing is regarding if the county will continue to use this document as a basis for water management in Spokane County. By all accounts that is exactly what the county intends to do.
You may read the entire ordinance at this link: https://www.spokanecounty.org/documentcenter/view/17942
ORDINANCE NO. 17-1067
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, AUTHORIZED BY CHAPTER 36.70A RCW, RCW 36.32.120(6) AND RCW 36.01.085, ESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY AND PROCEDURES TO ACQUIRE MITIGATION WATER CERTIFICATES FROM THE SPOKANE COUNTY LITTLE SPOKANE WATER BANK IN CONJUNCTION WITH RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS FOR WATER RESOURCE INVENTORY AREA 55; ESTABLISHING PENALTIES IN CONJUNCTION THEREWITH; AND PROVIDING FOR OTHER MATTERS PROPERLY RELATING THERETO.
Here is a copy of CAPR's most recent newsletter:
Dear CAPR members, friends,supporters!
Session law as created through SB 6091 has complicated water law and has put citizens in the position of having to monitor the processes created in this law very closely to prevent the loss of property rights.
The most agregious, outrageous example of this can be seen by reading the response of Spokane County to the law.
Spokane County has for several years been planning a water banking system. This system was created by the County Commissioners, the County Water Resource Planners and Managers, Ecology, and Aspect Consulting.
The County has heard repeatedly from many of its citizens that the water bank planning is legally inadequate and is open to litigation. It is inequitable because it allows for the county to create zoning to decide who will qualify for the water bank and distributes the use of water inequitably. If your property is within the zoned areas, you will not have the use of your "permit Exempt" well unless you apply for the right to use the water bank.
Most agregiously, the water bank planning has resulted in a County Ordinance that is damaging to and will devalue properties in the county. The ordinance requires a covenant to be placed on the title of the property. To qualify for the use of the water bank you must first provide an avigation easement ( an easement for the airspace of your property) so the county may monitor your property for enforcement.
The ordinance includes civil enforcement that can include fines of up to 500 dollars a day, and possible jail time.
This is the response of Spokane County to the touted "freedom" to use your water rights in 6091 law.
If this soviet style response is concerning to you contact your legislators and let them know this is not the kind of solution Americans expect to live under!
If you live in Spokane County and want to let your commissioners know your opinion of the actions they have allowed to transpire, you will have the opportunity to do so at a Public Hearing on Tuesday Feb 6, 2:00 pm.
1026 West Broadway Ave, Spokane.
READ THIS ORDINANCE!
The link below to Spokane County's ordinace is a quick read, only 6 pages to establish the taking of property rights as precedence in Washington State under the ruse of providing water rights.
The legislature has passed SB 6091, and it has been signed into law.
This bill has been celebrated as a solution to provide relief to rural citizens to enable them to once again gain building permits because they have adequate water supply through proof by Ecology rather than reliance on counties for proof of adequate water.
The truth is this is a complex bill that catogorizes the 63 Water Resource Inventory areas into 5 different types:
Those who have water rights as per the 1945 water law, 90.44.050 http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=90.44.050
Those who live in Skagit County and have no exempt well water rights due to a Supreme Court Case, Swinomish v Department of Ecology. Although 6091 addressed two other Supreme Court Cases, Hirst and Foster, the legislature declined to address the Swinomish Case, reportedly due to pressure from the Swinomish Tribe.
Those who live in the Yakima basin and have had their water rights adjudicated in Federal Court.
Those who live in Counties withing Water Resource Inventory areas and their counties have embarked upon watershed planning.
Those who live in Counties within Water Resource Inventory Areas and their counties have not embarked on watershed planning, who will now have to embark on creating Water Resource Enhancement Committes to plan with Ecology what water rights will look like after these committees along with Ecology and county/cities have planned. If they fail to do so, Ecology will embark upon creating rules for these areas.
This is not an equitable application of water law, and complicates water rights and county planning needlessly, this does not provide citizens with certainty, free and clear property titles, or smaller, more responsive local governance.
CAPR fought for fair, constitutonal, and equitable water law as it would apply to all citizens. 6091 has created law that does not meet these requirements.
Please save March 17 to attend the annual CAPR Banquet where you will hear from experts on property rights topics and socialize with those experts and other property rightsdefenders! Sign up today, we look forward to seeing you!