DOE approves North Bend water

North Bend's long wait for water may almost be over.

The state Department of Ecology last week gave its approval for North Bend to get new water rights. If nobody appeals the decision by Oct. 30, the city can start building the required wells and pipes. It will take about six months to install the infrastructure.

"It is very good news," said North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing. "It is almost jump up and down and click your heels news."

Currently the city has the rights to 336-acre-feet of water a year, but is using nearly twice that amount. An acre-foot is the equivalent of an acre of water, 1-foot deep. In April 1998, the city imposed a building moratorium and began the process of acquiring the rights to more water.

To do that, the city had to come up with a way to replace, or mitigate, the effect removing more water from city wells would have on the Snoqualmie River during times of the year when water is low.

"They did the right thing," said Dan Swenson, section manager of Ecology's Northwest Regional Office Water Resources Program. "It just took a lot longer than any of us expected."

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