Speak up for your Water on July 23

Spokane River Hangman Creek confluence

It’s Your River. We Protect It.

Please come out to the City Council meeting and speak up for your water on Monday, July 23rd

Be at the City Hall Spokane City Council Chambers at 5:45 pm and sign up to speak.
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. Spokane, WA 99201

The City Council Meeting on Monday evening, July 23rd will be an important opportunity for you to testify in protection of your public water and your precious Spokane River.

If you cannot attend, please consider emailing your council members – Link to City Council Email(s) here.

Please tell the Spokane City Council not to sell water out of the basin. Our river needs this water to stay healthy and functional for future generations.

The Issue

The City of Spokane intends to sell water to Medical Lake for purposes of “supplementing” Medical Lake’s municipal water supply. The agreement would also provide water for “emergency” purposes. On Monday Night, the Spokane City Council will deliberate on approval of the sales agreement. We recognize that this issue is complex and under the right conditions, Riverkeeper could agree to small amounts of emergency water distributed to Medical Lake. However, the current agreement would not limit water to just emergency uses. The agreement would allow Spokane to sell up to 200 gallons per minute for supplemental use and up to 600 gallons per minute under emergency conditions (the briefing sheet says 800 gallons per minute – pg 231 of agenda).

We are urging the City Council to vote no on this Water Sales Agreement for the following reasons:

Water should not be sold for supplemental use. If Medical Lake needs to supplement their water supply, we encourage the City to meet those supplemental needs through aggressive conservation measures. Studies have shown that a great deal of water can be made up through conservation by reducing peak demand with conservation measures.

Water that is sold to outlying areas comes out of the Spokane Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer which is the life blood of the Spokane River and its health. Unfortunately, as we pump water from the aquifer in low flow seasons and move it around the region, it has the potential of impacting river flows in the critical season of late summer.

This agreement should only be forged if both cities have aggressive, stand alone conservation plans with outcomes, action steps and triggers for drought emergencies. Currently, they do not have these in place.

If it passes and the actual intertie infrastructure is put in place, who is to say that both cities don’t re-negotiate a new agreement for far greater amounts of water in 2038. In fact, the current proposed agreement says that capacity (for delivery) increases can be made by written executed amendment to the sales agreement. This sets our river up for even more stress as municipal use increases and our climate warms in the long term.

Thank the City Council on their forward thinking passage of the intertie ordinance last week, and encourage them to continue the work of building water conservation plans for a healthy river for generations to come.

See the terms of the agreement here on page 229.

Thanks again for your support in the effort to keep Spokane River and its tributaries clean for generations to come.

Your Spokane Riverkeeper,

Jerry White Jr