Facts regarding Crow Valley right of way franchise

There are a some factual matters and a few points of view that might have been more carefully considered regarding the franchise for a water line from Crow Valley.

1. Withdrawing ten gallons per minute from the Crow Valley aquifer will have absolutely no impact on the surface, on the agricultural use of the land , or upon wetlands. The hydrologic cycle just doesn’t work that way. Here in the islands we are in a “use it or lose it” situation with water. What we don’t use percolates off into the surrounding salt water. People who deal with water know that. There is a marshy area here on Lopez with a much smaller recharge area from which two separate water system have been authorized to withdraw a total of 70 gallons per minute for the past twenty five years with no impact whatsoever on the surface.

2. If the council granted a franchise to the owner of that system on condition he provide service to anyone who wanted to hook up it would be a net benefit to the community. It would provide water service to some who might otherwise not have it, and it would obviate the need for some to drill their own well, thus providing better monitoring and management of the aquifer. It could even be the start of a network that would provide Eastsound with a reliable supply of water. We have such a system here on Lopez that has done just that to the benefit of the community.

3. It is hypocritical to support our comprehensive plan then to place obstacles in the way of someone who wants to use the land in accordance with that plan. Of course if people believe the land was improperly zoned then the honorable thing would be the lobby for a change in that zoning.

4. The county population now has about 15,000 full time residents. It is expected to grow to 21,000 by 2020. The existential question is this: Having made room for some 11,000 people since 1970, do we have any obligation to make room for any more in the future? And, if so, how do we accommodate them gracefully while still maintaining the unique qualities of the islands. And, if not, do we pull up the ladder now that we are aboard, have ours, and say no more?

Pat Roe

Lopez Island