Wells Are No Longer Banned in Water-Conscious Whatcom County, Washington

Water disputes have led to several moratoriums on residential wells, but pressure from property owners has them back on the table.

As reported by The Bellingham Herald: by Kie Relyea:

The County Council has temporarily ended restrictions on new rural developments that rely on domestic wells in Whatcom County, allowing frustrated property owners to once again apply for permits to build their homes.

“What the bill does is lines us up with newly adopted state law,” County Executive Jack Louws said in an interview.

The council’s approval of an emergency ordinance on Tuesday lifted what had been the fourth temporary moratorium the council put in place in response to a state Supreme Court ruling in October 2016, known as the Hirst decision, which required the county to make sure there was enough water – both legally and physically – in streams for fish and those holding senior water rights before allowing developments that depend on what are known as permit-exempt wells.nuary.

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