Disappointed in North Bend

Letter to the Editor

I would like to express a concern I have with the proposed water rights mitigation plan that was reviewed at the special City Council meeting on May 10 in North Bend.

History: Last year the city of North Bend was given a presentation by the consultants hired to assist in developing a mitigation strategy and plan execution using ground water extraction and storage as a means to recharge the rivers during the dryer summer months. During the presentation the consultants (whom were hired because the DOE recommended we use a team with such skills and there was a history between the consultants and DOE) stated that the probability was very high that this mitigation strategy would be successful and that the DOE was excited about the results (check the public records of the meeting for their response).

The consultants stated that the approach North Bend was taking as part of our water mitigation strategy was relatively new in the USA and the DOE was watching closely to see if this could be a model for other communities. They stated that this approach was used successfully in the UK, but had not been implemented in the USA on a large scale like North Bend was attempting.

After the meeting, I discussed with the (then) mayor and City Council a possible way integrate the consultants into the solution by having them “invest” in the data gathered from this work by partnering with the city for a successful solution. Why: If the data had proven successful and the technique had worked, the consultant would have been in a position to market these new skills and techniques for other programs around the USA. At the time this would have been a lucrative event for the consultants, being they were confident in the initial test results.

Now we are left in a situation where the data has invalidated the initial finding and this leaves the city with yet another failed attempt to mitigate our water problem. I would like to see if the city could work with the consultants to have them help offset the cost for this misfortune. The consultants’ input at the City Council meeting left the city with a very positive feeling and thus we chose to engage a strategy (cost and time) that has failed.

I question the abilities of the consultants, the value of the data and the interpretation of the data. Mistakes and errors could be part of the reason for this failure and I suggest discussions of error and omissions be explored.

The cost for purchasing water from Seattle should be offset by the fees to the consultants, as they are partially responsible for the failed mitigation strategy. How much water could we have purchased for the fees paid for the failure?

Terril Perrine

North Bend