Please, Governor Inslee, think of the landowners in water fight

By Michelle Pate
An open letter to Governor Jay Inslee:
Dear Governor Inslee,
The rural water availability issue is truly devastating for those families whom it affects. Please don't disregard this issue as simply secondary to the school budget or other higher-profile problems.
Eliminating non-permitted wells does not solve the perceived problem of saving water to streams, as an almost full percentage of what is used goes back into the ground. It just limits hard-working families from using their land for gardens and a home with every intention of good stewardship.
This is not a good way to solve this problem, and to talk about it as a minor secondary issue when our life's work and savings is involved is unconscionable.
Please allow a period where in the interim to a good solution that involves all in an effective water conservation effort, that non-permitted wells still will be allowed. Then work until something that is fair, equitable and effective is figured out.
We own 28 acres in south Pierce County. My family has farmed this land since 1973 and have finally been able to purchase our portion of the family farm with the hope to build a small home on it. Now this. There has to be a more logical and better response to this issue. Please review these ideas with an open mind to understand how ineffectual the eliminating of non-permitted wells is to solving water usage amounts and how devastating it is to us individually by taking away our access to water, that our ability to financially and physically function on our property is gone. Please consider the facts, how insignificant our usage is as far as what is recycled back into the system, that we use our water sparingly and for productive reasons.
Perhaps if you made an effort to become familiar with some of the cases of those affected by the Hirst decision, you, too, would understand the foolishness of this ineffective attempt of putting the burden on us (rural landowners that are in compliance with the low-density rules of the Growth Management Act) to fix the perceived water availability issue. Please consider this decision's disproportionate repercussions on a group of people targeted and burdened by a misconceived solution that will surely fall short of its intended purpose.
Please take some time to consider the impact this has on the group of hard-working land owners of this state – that although lower in numbers than those that live in the city, are truly an important backbone of what built this state. And our rights to own and thrive on our land should be respected.

Michelle Pate lives in the Alder area.


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