Serving Franklin County, WA

Residents balk at water restrictions

LIND – With the August 4 fire under control, some Lind residents are wondering why the city continues to enforce a ban on lawn watering. These concerns led 22 Lind residents to attend a city council meeting on August 9.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Darla Shaver asked how many gallons of water were sold last year. The council provided no answer. Steve Nelson, an engineer who attended the meeting by phone, noted that declining aquifers are not restricted to Lind. “Nor,” he said, “is aquifer depletion related to water sales.”

The council and audience then debated the availability of various wells for pumping water. In one case, a well pump motor was stolen months ago and engineer Nelson explained that it could take 6 to 9 months to get a replacement part. He also remarked, “The reality is, until you have an emergency, you can’t obtain emergency funding.”

Resident Vi Holland asked if the city will reduce water bills until the ban is lifted. The council offered no answer.

At issue was the council’s proposed Resolution No. 22-06 that declared “the existence of an emergency providing for commercial and residential bans on watering of lawns.” It also laid out penalties, including fines and discontinuation of water service for residents who violate the mandate.

Resident Denise Snead noted that the resolution doesn’t explain what the real emergency is. “I don’t think it is legal to shut off people’s water,” she said. “Plus, what are the parameters for ending it (the ban)?”

Council member Myra Horton said, “We need to pass Resolution 22-06 to get the emergency funding.” But council member Robert Dew suggested tabling the resolution until two absent council members—Laura Dew and Mike Wold—could be present.

With the resolution tabled, the council moved to enforce a prior ordinance giving the city council authority to forbid/limit the watering of lawns.

Council member Jim Dworshak defined the ordinance’s parameters: “Odd houses can water on odd days and even houses can water on even days, during the hours of 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. only, until we get out of fire danger.”

Council member Robert Dew opposed enforcing the ordinance, but other council members carried the motion.

In a call to The Journal, resident Briana Osborne later remarked, “The town is in an uproar…we’re all frustrated because we don’t have any help. They (the council) used to have a call-in number for the public, but now they’re not allowing call-ins. That’s why one of the community members started recording the meetings.”

In a separate phone call, Lind resident Denise Snead, who also attended the August 9 meeting, said, “The town’s people are not sure that the well levels and the water pump flow are any different from last year when she (the mayor) was selling millions of gallons to the windmill project.”

These issues are not new. As previously reported in The Journal, resident Steve Ferrell remarked two years ago at the August 25, 2020 city council meeting, “Once you take thousands and thousands of gallons out of a well, the aquifer, you’re draining what resources are out there. Our town isn’t meant for that.”

Prior to press time, the Lind mayor did not respond to requests for comment.


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