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State budget includes $2 million for Dungeness Valley water credit purchases

July 3rd, 2013 - 5:59am

(Sequim) -- The latest state capital budget includes money to buy water credits in the Dungeness Valley.

Under an earlier arrangement, the state Department of Ecology gave Clallam County money to pay for property owners' purchase of credits under a new water rule for the area.

But the initial state money ran out in June. There were concerns the state wouldn't continue as it had agreed when only the state Senate budget had included the money.

County Commissioner Jim McEntire says, in the end, two million dollars was passed for purchasing water rights.

McEntire calls the funding a "great start". He says it doesn't solve all the problems, but helps the county toward addressing the issue.

The appropriation is provided solely for the Department of Ecology to develop projects and acquire water rights to enhance flows and to mitigate for rural development within the basin.

Ecology implemented the new rule at the beginning of the year. It requires anyone needing a new well or a change in well use to purchase water credits from a water bank. The bank is intended to govern the amount of water available by allowing some users to put unused water rights into the bank as well as selling to those needing more rights.

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