The Skagit area has faced significant challenges accessing water, an issue that state Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, has been working on for years. With bipartisan support, Bailey successfully delivered a significant investment for 10th District constituents unable to drill permit-exempt wells for domestic use after Department of Ecology rules and court cases restricted water access.
As part of the new state capital budget, Bailey secured $1.3 million for the Little Mountain Road pipeline and booster station, which will bring water for domestic use to people in the Skagit Basin along the road, and allow for future development in the area for landowners who currently do not have legal access to water. The award will fund the design of the project, as well as related land acquisition and a public outreach effort by the Skagit Public Utility District to solicit local input.
“This is an issue that I’ve been fighting for and I am so pleased that we’ve been able to find a solution that will open up desperately needed economic development for my constituents in Skagit County,” said Bailey. “With this investment, families will be able to realize the full value of their properties. The new construction will bring family-wage jobs to our area and the development will mean increased property values and resources for local governments in Skagit County.”
The pipeline project addresses Skagit’s water-access problems resulting from a 2001 Department of Ecology rule establishing minimum instream flow requirements for the Skagit River. Due to these regulations, domestic wells were disallowed in most of the Skagit River watershed.
“Water access is critical for economic development in our state,” Bailey said. “My constituents have been waiting far too long for a solution. I’m hopeful that this project is the beginning of a comprehensive and collaborative approach to meeting the needs of residents in Skagit County.”
The total project is estimated to cost $6 million, with an anticipated start date of April 2020. Funds secured by Bailey are earmarked for the design of a 12-inch pipeline and connections for rural residents of Skagit County. The budget will also continue funding for the Skagit water taskforce, aimed at increased public participation to find solutions for water access challenges in the region, including agricultural use.
Many other community projects were funded in the final capital budget that was approved on the final day of the 2019 legislative session.
Click here to see the 10th District project list.