Ruling: Skagit River basin reserved for fish not wells

Ruling: Skagit River basin reserved for fish not wells

KGMI News Reporting
By Mike Curtiss

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. – A Washington State Supreme Court ruling will force the Department of Ecology to change the way water is supplied to hundreds of homes and businesses in the Skagit River basin.

The court ruled six to three last week that Ecology’s 2006 water management rule allowing people in the basin to draw water from wells was invalid.

Jackie Klug with the Department of Ecology says the Skagit is one of the biggest rivers in the northwest, but it can flow too low for fish during the summer months.

Play Jackie Klug on Sakgit River basin

The court decided Ecology can’t make rules that set aside water for wells in areas where water was previously set aside to support stream flows for fish.

A total of 475 homes and eight businesses have relied on the rule for their water supplies.

Ecology is assessing the decision and how it may affect water management in other areas of the state.