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Commissioners discuss water system plans during public hearing

Public hearing on Well Water Plans

YAKIMA, Wash.- During the public hearing meeting, the board presented their current water system plans and help clarify the community on what it all means.

County Public Services Director Vern Rediser says that the boards overall goal is to come up with an adequate water supply for the city of Yakima, because they say the communities water resources are running out.

"The change is intended to allow our population to sill enjoy the rural lifestyle," said Rediser.

500,000 dollars worth of water was bought from the Department of Ecology, which is estimated to last ten years. The commissioners say the annual rate will help pay back the water that's bought and also prepare the city to buy more senior water for the following ten years.

"If we were not to go forward with this ordinance, we will simply expect every property owner to come forward and have their own proof of water at their own expense," said District 1 Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita.

The plan stated for new well users, a one-time fee of 1,150 dollars, a 35 dollar quarterly fee, plus charges on consumption and water meter usage. In the discussion, it was also noted that this proposed plan is a more flexible and cheaper option than what other counties are doing.

"What's been happening in Kittias County, even though they are moving forward, is property owners are going out and trying to do that themselves. It becomes very expensive to demonstrate that independently. That runs anywhere from 10 to 20 thousand dollars per household just to get the right to the water," said Leita.

The public had a chance to voice their concerns, and no one voted in favor for the water system decision.

The Commissioners say that we need to have a senior water right because Yakima's water resources have been limited for several years.

"We have to share it with each other, and we have to share it in a way that's going to satisfy our community needs as a whole," said Leita.

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