September 1st, 2010 | Published in Department of Ecology
From the Ecology press release:
“The era of cheap, abundant water supplies is over,” said Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant. “With population growth, the need for economic development, the challenges of restoring fish runs, and coping with climate change, unless we change the way we manage our water resources, there won’t be enough water to meet essential needs. Washington’s future quality of life depends on water, and if we don’t make some changes, that quality of life will suffer.”
The Department is going online to solicit comments from the public, asking a series of questions to flesh out the public’s opinion on water management.
For example, the current question deals with watershed plans and if their development should be extended:
Should the Watershed Planning Act be amended to give watershed groups and their sponsoring lead agencies an additional four years of financial support to continue the implementation of locally adopted watershed plans?
Since that questions was put to online commenters earlier this week, there have been 17 responses. Here are a couple:
Mike Rolfs says:
Yes. The WRIA40a group was successful in developing a plan and is now in phase 4. We continue to meet and are actively working toward completion of the goals set forth in the plan. The public support provided in phase 4 is crucial to the success of the group. Without the formal program, it is unlikely that the various watergroups and users would work together as they have within this program. I am excited to continue to work with our WRIA40a group to implement our Phase 4 goals.
Robert N. Crittenden says:
No. These local watershed planning processes have been an abject failure. They should either be terminated or substantially restructured.
I have participated either as a seat-holder or as a consultant to a group who was represented at the table in five different WRIAs in Western Washington and in several of the watershed councils before them. The following comments apply pretty much all to them:
The WRIAs and watershed councils were not representative of the public but were carefully assembled so as to balance opposing elements among the public and, thereby, eliminate any effective influence that the majority might have had over the outcomes of those processes. That was done by over-representing entities that agreed with departmental policies and under-representing the general public, if, indeed, they were represented at all. Thus, they were not “local” process but processes imported from Olympia and largely directed by them or by local government agencies who collaborated with them. — If the watershed planning process is continued, it should be restructured to be representative of the local constituency.
You can read more comments are participate in the online forum here.