North Bend City Council Work Study: Mitigation Water Update

North Bend City Councilmembers convened on November 24, 2020, remotely for a Work-Study session that included an update on mitigation water planning. The City continues evaluating multiple mitigation strategies to meet water system constraints and challenges related to mitigation requirements.

Public Works Director Mark Rigos provided an overview of several water topics and related economic development projects, saying that the most important property attribute is access to water.

“This is true for both built and unbuilt properties,” Rigos explained. “The City is comprised of thousands of properties, so it would be easy to say that providing access to water – a basic public utility – is a city’s most important function.”

Last month the City’s Water System Plan (WSP) was recommended for approval by the King County Utilities Technical Review Committee (UTRC). The King County Council is expected to approve the WSP soon and then it moves to the Washington State Department of Health, where approval is also anticipated.

Shelter Holdings, which is developing the Dahlgren Property, should begin construction soon on a waterline connection to the City’s water system. The 210-unit apartment housing project is not expected to need water for 1 – 2 years when it is further along in the construction process. The City has adequate mitigation water for the project.

The potential National Guard Readiness Center project at exit 34 near Truck Town will also require a water line extension, which is in the preliminary planning phase. The future Readiness Center is included in the City’s Water System Plan. It is an important project to the City and the State as the proposed North Bend location is considered a strategic site as a first stop / last stop near Snoqualmie Pass.

In early December, the City began the SEPA process for a project that will convert a water well at the former Cascade Golf Course from an irrigation source to a mitigation source. Water quality and temperature testing are ongoing, and SEPA Public Comment Period is open through early January 2021.

Cascade Golf Course. PC: CGC website.

Other long-term mitigation options are also being actively studied and evaluated. These options will allow the City to meet all future mitigation requirements of its Centennial Well Water Right and include a Hobo Springs expansion (more springs are available than are currently utilized); a deep well aquifer; Chester Morse Reservoir Mitigation pipeline; and construction of a mitigation reservoir tank that would capture water during the wet season for mitigation use during dry months.

Future mitigation options under consideration are evaluated using a benefit ratio model based on achieved mitigation years and associated capital costs.

The option of a water contract with Sallal Water Association is less likely to occur as Sallal informed the City last summer that it does not have mitigation water available.

City staff will continue to evaluate viable mitigation strategies and provide Councilmembers quarterly updates as mitigation strategic planning continues in 2021.

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  • It’s strange that nowhere is it mentioned that another option is to slow growth of new water consumers. At some point all the mitigations will run out. What then? Continued rationing of water for existing customers, so additional customers can be added? What is the LONG term plan?

  • Living Snoqualmie