Who gets the water? At the recent Thurston County Commissioners meeting, I heard the commissioners plan to ignore the recent Washington State Supreme Court’s Hirst Decision and continue with the ‘status quo’ of granting new permits for wells contrary to the court’s mandate. If commissioners prevail, it could have ruinous consequences: reduced or depleted water tables, polluted streams, and even waste of our tax dollars for litigation which could be avoided if commissioners comply with the court’s decision as other counties are doing.
Organizations who take our water rights, availability, and purity seriously are prepared to sue--and they have. The Hirst Decision is a result of this. Its aim is to protect existing well owners- be they private home owners, farmers, or businesses. County Commissioners discussed a ‘smoke and mirrors’ deception to subvert the intent of the State Supreme Court. Why? To provide a developer-attractive atmosphere at the expense of current well owners.
I am not a water expert, but the Department of Ecology representatives are and they were rebuffed in the meeting today when they reported their compliance with rules requiring publishing upgraded water maps. DOE representatives were told not to post them on the county site. Why? Commissioners want to keep county residents ignorant while permits continue to be granted to big developers. How can the needs and rights of residents who pay Commissioner salaries be ignored in favor of developers? Are they working for you?