Rural water plans released for Yakima County

Rural water plans released for Yakima County

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - In Yakima County there are new rules for anyone digging a well.

The community will have to pay to compensate for using the county's water supply, something they haven't done before. It'll cost a one time fee of $1,150, and $35 plus a consumption charge four times a year.

"We could then provide folks with access to ground water at a reasonable rate, much more reasonable then what a lot of people are charging," said by the Government Affairs Director Joe Walsh.

A moratorium for well building permits in Kittitas County happened in 2009. As a result, several people who owned water rights started selling pieces of those rights to people that wanted to own a well.

"Charges for those pieces of that water right are anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 up there, and you still have to pay for the well in the ground," said Walsh.

Yakima County Commissioners saw what Kittitas County was doing in 2012, and decided they needed to do something to make sure the county doesn't run out of water. Yakima County doesn't have a water right, so the commissioners figured out a way to become a water utility. Walsh says that this new plan will also help limit water usage.

"It's a very responsible way to do it, you are going to pay on your consumption. You are going to pay just for what you use," said Walsh.

According to the Department of Ecology, the average daily use for customers that have irrigation water is 212 gallons per day. The total cost including the consumption charge and service charge would be $177.24. The average annual daily use for customers that don't have irrigation is 460 gallons per day. The total annual cost would be $302.51.

"It will encourage folks to pay attention to how much they use. Because the more they use the more expensive it's going to get," said Walsh.

This new fee is set to start up by January 2 of next year.

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