Manweller says operating budget provision could address water issues in Kittitas County

The operating budget passed by the Legislature in the last days of the third special session contains a provision that may be the answer to the “red zone” water issues in Kittitas County.

Rep. Matt Manweller worked with budget writers to include language in the spending plan.

“The ‘red zone’ in Kittitas County refers to a group of landowners who do not have any access to water partly due to inaction by the Department of Ecology. These landowners have a worthless piece of property because they cannot build, develop or use their property,” said Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “My budget language requires the department to look at water options in domestic areas where it is not available and resolve this situation.”

The budget language states:

…the department must evaluate mitigation options for domestic water use in areas of the Yakima Basin for which mitigation water is unavailable and access to water from water banks is unsuitable. The department must recommend solutions for providing mitigation water for domestic use in such areas.

“Water is essential to our economy and our communities and if we have people going without then we need to look at all options available to make that happen,” said Manweller. “I am guessing many of these people would not have purchased their land if they had known there was going to be no water available.”

A report of the department’s findings must be provided to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2015.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
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