Save household wells!

Watch this space for news about the Senate’s effort to prevent an artificial water shortage created by a recent state Supreme Court decision.

The court’s decision in Hirst v. Whatcom County took away the right of rural property owners to develop small household-sized wells without enormous and costly bureaucratic burdens. Here’s what the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus and House Republicans are doing to fix the problem:

Senate proposal:

  • Senate Bill 5239 – comprehensive fix to problem — cosponsors include Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

Passed by Senate Committee on Agriculture, Trade and Economic Development. Hearing set in Senate Ways and Means Committee Feb. 21 at 1:30 p.m.

House proposals:

  • House Bill 1459 – requires state and local governments to consider actual groundwater impact — sponsored by Vincent Buys, R-Lynden; co-sponsors include Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden.

Passed by House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Feb. 16.

  • House Bill 1460makes water rights transfers easier – sponsored by Vincent Buys, R-Lynden, co-sponsors include Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden.

Did not receive vote in House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee before Feb. 17 deadline.

  • House Bill 1348 – gives users first priority for water — co-sponsors include Vincent Buys, R-Lynden.

Did not receive vote in House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee before Feb. 17 deadline.

  • House Bill 1349 – declares small wells have minimal impact — co-sponsors include Vincent Buys, R-Lynden.

Did not receive vote in House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee before Feb. 17 deadline.

  • House Bill 1382 – prohibits denial of small-well permits without good reason — co-sponsors include Vincent Buys, R-Lynden.

Did not receive vote in House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee before Feb. 17 deadline.