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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 13, 2004
Contact:
For technical information, Tom Clingman, Thurston County Department of Water and Waste Managementt,  360- 357-2491 ext. 6809
For quotes about the WRIA 13 effort, Virgil Clarkson, chairman of the WRIA 13 Planning Committee, 491-3214

September Meetings Focus on Draft Deschutes Watershed Plan


OLYMPIA -- Balancing the water needs of a growing population without damaging stream flows is the centerpiece of a draft watershed plan now available for public review.  The plan focuses on Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 13, which embraces the Eld, Budd/Deschutes, and Henderson Inlet watersheds.

Citizens are invited to learn more about the plan and share their views at public meetings scheduled for:

  1. Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the Rainier Sportsman's Club, 404 Alaska Street in Rainier.
  2. Thursday, Sept. 23 at the Tumwater Fire Station, 311 Israel Road S.W. in Tumwater.

Both meetings will begin with an open house at 6:30 p.m. followed by presentations at 7  p.m.

The draft WRIA 13 watershed plan contains 75 recommendations ranging from water rights to water quality and habitat protection. The plan seeks to have:

  • Additional monitoring devices installed near the Deschutes River to help reveal how aquifers affect stream flows.
  • WRIA 13 water rights and claims mapped into a geographic information system and linked to a database.
  • Better enforcement of metering requirements and other conditions placed on water rights.
  • A "water bank" created for WRIA 13, where water-rights holders who don't need their entire allotment of water can make excess water available to others.
  • Small proposed community wells that are exempt from permit-requirements undergo a review process to gauge how the wells might affect stream flows.
  • Maps and plans created to make reclaimed water available for non-drinking uses, such as irrigation. Reclaimed water is used water that has been thoroughly cleaned and made available for other uses.
  • Regional water-conservation and water-quality plans launched within WRIA 13.

The draft plan was written by the WRIA 13 Watershed Planning Committee.  Its members represent state, tribal and local governments, as well as business and environmental interests. Also represented on the committee are the sport fishing, building, forestry and aquaculture interests.

The Planning Committee has been meeting for the past three years under the authority of the 1998 Watershed Management Act; a law that encourages local communities to develop plans for protecting local water resources and habitat.

The plan must be approved by all government representatives and a majority of non-government representatives on the committee before going to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. More information is available on the internet by selecting the "WRIA 13" button on the Water and Waste Management pages of the Thurston County web site at www.co.thurston.wa.us/wwm.  

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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3