In a unanimous decision on August 2, 2022, the North Bend City Council approved a resolution to prioritize future water connections to residents and property owners living within North Bend city limits.
Currently, the City of North Bend provides water to residents and businesses on and near the city’s west side, and the Sallal Water Association provides water to residents and businesses on and near the city’s east side.
Public Works Director Mark Rigos opened the discussion by saying that, unfortunately, the resolution is caused by Sallal’s emergency water moratorium. The moratorium was imposed by their Board of Directors prohibiting all new water connections, including new connections to its customers within city limits, in June of 2022.
According to the city, in its announcement, Sallal stated that it may “make the moratorium permanent until additional water rights are obtained.” Obtaining new water rights in Washington state is expensive and time-consuming, often taking many years to complete.
For several years, well before Sallal imposed the moratorium prohibiting any new water connections, the city says they have repeatedly offered to execute a Water Supply Agreement with Sallal.
In a press release, the city states:
A Water Supply Agreement would provide Sallal with additional water to serve its entire customer base, including properties located within city limits and outside of city limits, and better ensure safe, sufficient water supply for our community. Sallal declined to enter into the proposed agreement.
To ensure that City of North Bend residents and property owners can obtain future water connections during Sallal’s moratorium, the resolution authorizes prioritizing connections in the following ways:
- The priority will be given to City residents and property owners with land located within City limits, whether they are customers of City water or Sallal water.
- The second priority will be given to residents and landowners with property located outside of city limits, but whose properties are served by City water.
Said Rigos, “This resolution simply prioritizes remaining water supply from outside city limits to inside city limits. There are several large commercial projects currently proposed along East North Bend Way that no longer have access to water.”
According to the city, as a municipal water system, it is required to manage its water supply efficiently to guarantee sufficient water for its entire customer base now and well into the future. Sallal has lacked adequate water to serve a portion of its customers for several years. This insufficiency includes many properties located within city limits. The city has stepped in to provide water service to the affected property owners in such cases.
Approved resolution AB22-097 makes clear that adoption of this resolution and any related subsequent City actions would be unnecessary if Sallal would sign the Water Supply Agreement. View the resolution HERE.
When asked to comment on the city’s press release regarding this decision, Sallal Vice President, Daylin Baker, said, “The city failed to mention in its press release that in exchange for offering a limited amount of water to serve the UGA, the city is requiring Sallal to take water from its wells at Rattlesnake to supplement stream flows. Not only is there a quid pro quo for the offer, but the requirement would subject Sallal’s water rights to stream flow mitigation, a condition that does not presently exist. Sallal Board’s first priority is to provide potable water and fire protection to its members. The city’s quid pro quo requirements would impact Sallal’s ability to provide that service.”
A public meeting will be held on August 16, 2022, at 6 pm at 44021 Tanner Road, Suite E, when the Sallal Board of Trustees will hear comments regarding the moratorium. Non-members may participate. Click here for more information.