In an area where we receive nearly 90 inches of rain a year and have one of the biggest aquifers in the state under our feet, it seems trivial that a city would announce it may have water. But the reality is North Bend has been in a 10-year battle to acquire the rights to use some of our abundant resource and last week, we took one more step toward that goal.
It’s ironic that North Bend has had to battle water rights issues just to survive. Many City Council members, a former mayor, current mayor and several former and current city staffers have been in the fight. Dogged determination has resulted in the current success, but we can’t quite start the party yet. A 30-day final appeal period has begun and as the clock ticks, it is expected that past opponents may come forward to argue against North Bend getting more water.
I question whether they have a legitimate claim and hope the city and state Department of Ecology move forward to resolve any appeals that may arise.
Many times I have iterated in this editorial space that to survive, North Bend needs water. For years, nothing else that the city has done really has mattered at the same level as gaining more water rights. Growth has almost been nonexistent in and around North Bend but, pardon the pun, the floodgates are likely to open.
So in addition to thanking all those involved in the process, we also need to remind ourselves that the council, mayor and staff have a responsibility – along with the Planning Commission and Economic Development Commission – to assure that North Bend’s growth enhances our character, while at the same time honoring personal property rights.
Again, thanks to those involved in the water process. I honestly never thought we would get this close.