Margaret Pageler, Seattle City Councilmember
- Lecture Objectives. Provide broad understanding of the consequences
and challenges Central Puget Sound faces from population growth and
water needs, based on Seattle’s experience in the region.
- Lecture Outline
- Water for people. GMA requires concentrated growth in Central Puget
Sound. Surface and groundwater sources supply the needed water.
- Water for fish. Stream flows and lake levels interact with municipal
water withdrawals in a highly-altered urban environment.
- Major challenges.
Place of use restrictions
Use it or lose it rules
Federal and state agency uncertainty
Sewage and stormwater systems
- Visionary solutions – some examples
Cedar River Watershed
Habitat Conservation Plan – “fish
first” water allocation
Tacoma Second Supply Project – conjunctive
Water Suppliers Forum – linkages and conservation
(WRIA’s) – intergovernmental salmon recovery
Utilities natural systems for stormwater control
- Governing laws and agencies
Endangered Species Act, Clean Water
Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, State Growth Management Act, Shorelines
Management Act, and state water law generally US EPA, National Marine
Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of
Engineers, Wash. Dept of Ecology, Wash Dept of Health, Wash Dept
of Fish and Wildlife, tribal authorities
- Ways citizens can get involved
Water utilities in the 21st century are changing from being
merely utility service providers to becoming resource management agencies
with environmental stewardship at the core of their mission. In the
Pacific Northwest, powerful twin drivers of this change are the Growth
Management Act , which mandates water service to support dense urban
growth in the central Puget Sound metropolitan region, and the Endangered
Species Act, which requires protection of salmon habitat in the rivers
and streams of the metropolitan area.
Meeting these twin mandates is
complicated by outdated and inflexible water laws, a welter of municipal
and utility jurisdictions, and lack of clear guidance from federal
and state agencies. Nonetheless, collaborative work across the region
is producing a shared commitment to integrated water resource management.
The goals are to provide municipal water within the urban growth
boundary to support growth management while ensuring good stream
flows to support salmon.
A handful of concurrent initiatives demonstrate
visionary solutions. (a) The Cedar River Watershed Habitat Conservation
Plan bases municipal water withdrawals on fish-flow requirements. (b)
The Tacoma Intertie agreement establishes conjunctive use between reservoirs
and aquifers. (c) The Water Suppliers Forum “Outlook” and
drought response embody a metropolitan-wide commitment to conservation
and to fish. (d) The watershed forums (WRIA’s) ensure that suburban
governments are active partners in salmon recovery. (e) A natural systems
approach to stormwater management in the built-out environment is being
modeled by Seattle Public Utilities.
Without diminishing their focus
on safe, reliable water supply for the metropolitan area as required
by GMA, regional water utilities are stepping up to the challenge of
holistic integrated water resource management.