As many of our members may have heard, Sallal and the City of North Bend are discussing a possible agreement whereby the City will provide Sallal with wholesale water when the need arises, and Sallal will provide North Bend with water to mitigate in-stream flows in the Snoqualmie River, but only when flows are low and water is unavailable for that purpose from Seattle Public Utilities or other sources. We have listed below several key aspects to help our members better understand the situation. As we dive deeper into the discussions, we will post more information on our website. Please check back regularly or direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sallal uses groundwater pursuant to State of WA issued water rights certificates to serve its entire water service area.
- Even though Sallal is owned by its members, it has a statutory duty to serve water within its service area.
- North Bend expanded the City limits into Sallal’s existing water service area in 2008. Zoning in the expansion area was made denser to urban standards.
- For many years, Sallal has had water mains and many customers throughout this City expanded area. While the City extended police, land use, sewer and other public functions into the area of the expanded City limits, Sallal remains the sole designated water purveyor for the area.
- Cities have statutory authority to assume water districts. However, Sallal is a member owned nonprofit corporation and is not subject to the water district assumption statute.
- The City received a water right permit a few years ago which allows the City to sell water from its Centennial well to Sallal for use within the City’s expansion area. The permit also allows Sallal to sell water from its wells located above Wilderness Rim to the City in order for the City to mitigate flows in the Snoqualmie River during low flow periods when mitigation water is unavailable from other sources. Questions have arisen whether the permit can be revised, which is an issue best addressed to the City.
- Contractual arrangements to implement water sales between the City and Sallal have not been agreed upon. As of this point in time, no water sales between the City and Sallal are occurring.
- Sallal has had a pending water rights application on file with the State for many years. No action is expected on this application for the foreseeable future. Based on State policies and case law, no new water rights are expected to be issued in the Snoqualmie Basin within our planning horizon.