Did you know that residents of Whatcom County may lose their water rights? If local residents do not file a court claim in the upcoming Ecology water lawsuit that is to take place in the Spring of 2024, then they will lose their water rights. According to the Whatcom Family Farmers, this lawsuit determines the legality and seniority of all water users in the Nooksack basin, also known as Washington Resource Inventory Area 1 (WRIA 1). Over 20,000 individuals and entities are expected to be served. The Washington State Department of Ecology is requiring these water users to file a claim in Whatcom County Superior Court outlining their water rights and usage. This is being done so that the court can inventory all users within the Nooksack basin. According to the Lynden Tribune, the lawsuit involves: cities, districts and associations that draw ground or surface water for their members; agricultural uses for irrigation and stock water; commercial and industrial uses; permit-exempt well users, which may be 15,000 in Whatcom County; and the Lummi and Nooksack tribes.
What you should know about the lawsuit
Residents of the Nooksack Basin will need to properly document their water use in preparation for the lawsuit. The department of ecology for the State of Washington will mail a notice to all water users which will explain who must respond and file a claim, while people who use water only as customers of a system, such as a city, PUD (Planned Unit Development) or water system, will not need to file a claim.
For more information on the lawsuit, and how to document water use can be found on the Whatcom Family Farmers Site: https://whatcomfamilyfarmers.org/2023/11/13/nov-8-2023-event-presentation-protecting-your-water/.
The Importance of Testing Your Well
If you are currently on well water in the Nooksack Basin, it is entirely up to you to maintain basic safety and sanitation levels of your well water to ensure that the water you are consuming is safe. Well water can be very susceptible to contamination because of its proximity to the ground. Runoff from storms, construction, and nearby roads can all affect the quality of well water, and oil, chemicals, de-icing agents and overflow from sewers and water treatment plants can all find their way into well water.
While well water can seem like a cheaper and more reliable source of home drinking water than traditional city water sources, well water also comes with its own unique risks and challenges. Scheduling regular well water testing can help to prepare you for the proper upkeep of your well water treatment system. A thorough, comprehensive water test will identify any contaminants, bacteria, or other issues that you are facing. Once you have had your water tested, you can choose the correct system for treating your water, one that is designed with your specific water needs in mind. Additional testing on a regular basis will help to ensure that your well water is safe and free of pollutants.
Contact Clearwater Systems today, your local Kinetico® dealer, for your free in-home water analysis. Call 888-WATER-10 (888-928-3710) to find out more.
Adjudication of wria 1 (Nooksack). Nooksack – Washington State Department of Ecology. (n.d.). https://ecology.wa.gov/water-shorelines/water-supply/water-rights/adjudications/nooksack
Bracing for upcoming Whatcom Water lawsuit, hundreds gather in Lynden to learn from experts. Whatcom Family Farmers. (2023, November 14). https://whatcomfamilyfarmers.org/2023/11/14/bracing-for-upcoming-whatcom-water-lawsuit-hundreds-gather-in-lynden-to-learn-from-experts/?fbclid=IwAR36-8-_T6xbfVQwsxLCGEK7S0LuM-zFbUVZYMBVsKLJx5sWlzPEa8mjCsU
Danielle. (2023, November 16). Bracing for upcoming Whatcom Water lawsuit, hundreds gather in Lynden to learn from experts. Whatcom Family Farmers. https://whatcomfamilyfarmers.org/2023/11/14/bracing-for-upcoming-whatcom-water-lawsuit-hundreds-gather-in-lynden-to-learn-from-experts/?fbclid=IwAR36-8-_T6xbfVQwsxLCGEK7S0LuM-zFbUVZYMBVsKLJx5sWlzPEa8mjCsU
Tribune, C. B. the. (2023, November 21). Water rights experts warn of losing water access if existing uses aren’t defended in court. Lynden Tribune. https://www.lyndentribune.com/news/water-rights-experts-warn-of-losing-water-access-if-existing-uses-aren-t-defended-in/article_98849294-8884-11ee-b8d8-cbf682c4e0c7.html