Washington State Department of Ecology - July 3, 2013

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Legislature funds projects to improve Dungeness stream flows, provide water for new development

OLYMPIA – The Washington Legislature has approved spending $2.05 million to develop projects and acquire water rights to enhance stream flows and provide mitigation water for rural development in the Dungeness watershed on the Olympic Peninsula.

For the past few decades steady growth in eastern Clallam County, particularly near Sequim, has led to increased demand for water supplies in the Dungeness watershed in the late summer and early fall. That’s also when fish populations need water the most, which has caused concern about supplies for human needs.  

In January 2013 – in cooperation with local and tribal governments, irrigators and public utility districts – the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) adopted a water management rule for the Dungeness watershed. Since then, well owners making new groundwater withdrawals have been required to offset or mitigate their water use.

The Dungeness budget proviso provides funding for projects in four categories:

The new state funding will also support water project management in the four categories. Ecology, with assistance from local water managers, will award contracts for water supply projects including conducting  field investigations and verifying work progress.

In order to inform the Legislature on the request for Dungeness funding, a cost-benefit analysis of 21 different water projects was done for the water management group. In a series of meetings this summer and fall, Ecology and the group will determine which of those projects will be funded from the Dungeness proviso. 

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Media Contact: Dan Partridge,  360-407-7139; cell, 360-480-5722;  dan.partridge@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Dungeness water management (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/dungeness.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)