water issues

Republican congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers  is hailing an executive order by President Trump to the EPA to withdraw and reconsider what is called the Waters of the USA rule.

The congresswoman from eastern Washington said Wednesday that the so called WOTUS rule from EPA was a misdirected order that would have had a negative impact on the region:

A Washington state Senate subcommittee took testimony this week on two bills aimed at dealing with a Supreme Court decision that has left questions over water rights.

The Supreme Court’s Hirst decision from October means Washington counties must make sure there’s enough available water before issuing permits for new developments.

The result of the rule is if someone wants to build a house that relies on that well, they’ll have to prove they won’t infringe on someone else’s water right or violate environmental rules designed to protect fish.

Spokane River
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Some environmentalists are urging Spokane residents to conserve water this summer, in an effort to help the Spokane River. At a location along the river called “Three Springs,” water conservation advocates made their case for a public effort to slow down on their water use.


Slowly - too slowly for the naked eye to discern - Lake Coeur d'Alene is shrinking, dropping below the normal summertime lake-full level. And that puts Avista Utilities in a bind.

Ecology Amends Reclaimed Water and Purple Pipe Rules

Jul 20, 2015

The purple pipe could be a local solution for Washington drought problems. The state Department of Ecology is hoping to offset water shortages by encouraging municipalities to use reclaimed water, often fed through purple pipe.

A huge, sole-source aquifer in southern Idaho is shrinking under the onslaught of drought and heavy irrigation, But a new agreement among water users may head off contentious battles over shares of the critical resource.

Irrigators in Eastern Washington are facing curtailment of water use, months earlier than normal. Because of the early melting mountain snowpack and rapidly declining river and stream levels in the state, the Department of ecology is beginning to notify junior water-rights holders that they may have to curtail water use soon.

Spokane city councilman Jon Snyder says it’s time to revise the city’s water plan. He's concerned the city needs to carefully review requests to provide water for areas outside the city that have been added to the Urban Growth Area by the county.

It may sound odd to think of restoring a vital wetlands on Lake Pend Oreille by throwing old logs, tree limbs and dirt into it. But that's what government agencies and volunteers are doing in the rapidly disappearing Clark Fork River delta.

An unusual experiment begins this summer on Idaho's Hayden Lake - testing of man-made floating wetlands that may save the lake from slowly choking to death. The Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board and the Kootenai Environmental Alliance have teamed up to make the artificial wetlands.

They call it "biomimickry technology."

The idea is launch the floating pads, made from recycled plastic and planted with native wetland vegetation, and let them eat up nutrients - primarily phosphorus - which are slowly strangling Hayden Lake.