People can learn about a recent decision by the Washington Department of Ecology that could restrict building in some areas of the Methow Valley at a public meeting on Thursday (Jan. 17). The presentation and Q&A session are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp Valley Grange.
The presentation is organized by the Methow Watershed Council.
Ecology’s decision affects 14 streams and 16 lakes that are considered to have been maxed out for water uses.
In the fall, Ecology determined its scientists could no longer guarantee that wells in those areas can be drilled in a way that prevents them from sucking water from the restricted streams and lakes. Without that guarantee, Ecology says it will no longer allow people to drill a well in those areas for household use. The agency also won’t let people use an existing well if it hasn’t already been providing water for a house.
Now Ecology Water Resources Program Manager Trevor Hutton and environmental specialist Vanessa Brinkhuis are coming to the Methow from the Central Regional office in Yakima to explain the decision and answer questions at the Thursday meeting. Okanogan County Commissioner Andy Hover will be on hand to provide more information about the effect of the rules on water use and home-building.
Ecology’s decision has triggered questions and concerns from county officials, people who own property in one of the restricted areas, real estate agents, and well drillers, among others. The ruling affects most tributaries to the Methow River, including Wolf Creek, French Creek and Beaver Creek.
More information is available on the watershed council website at www.methowwatershed.com under “Outreach and Education,” or from its administrative assistant, Sarah Lane, at firstname.lastname@example.org.