Update on Well Consolidation Portion of the Project (August 1, 2021)
The well consolidation portion of the project has taken may years of planning, and construction finished in the Spring of 2014. Part of the consolidation project was to transfer the ownership and water rights of the Lands Hill well into the water rights of Juniper Beach Water District (JBWD). We are in the final stages of consolidating the water permit from the Lands Hill exempt public water withdrawal into Juniper Beach Water District's existing Water Rights. This has included coordination with the Department of Ecology (DOE), and State and Local Health Departments. The Water Right Change Application includes water use data and a Publication of Consolidation.
In July of 2021 JBWD sent letters and documents to the “Original 10 Connected Properties” in the Lands Hill Water Rehabilitation and Consolidation Project. As we neared the final steps of this well consolidation project, what we were not aware of is that individual property legal agreements are required to prohibit the construction of another exempt well to serve the area previously served by the exempt (Lands Hill) well. Even though we did have in place as part of the original transfer agreement a legal agreement to prohibit further use of the Lands Hill well, we were not aware we would be required to have individual property designated agreements. According to the WA State Department of Ecology (DOE), each of the ten (10) originally connected properties must have a binding upon the property’s title. This is in the form of a “Declaration of Restrictive Covenant”. Basically this prohibits the drilling of a well on the property.
The legal reference DOE is referring to is as follows:
RCW 90.44.105 (3)
“legally enforceable agreements have been entered to prohibit the construction of another exempt well to serve the area previously served by the exempt well to be discontinued, and such agreements are binding upon subsequent owners of the land through appropriate binding limitations on the title to the land;”
We consulted with our District’s legal counsel and they created the necessary legal agreements that will satisfy the DOE requirement. JBWD is now in the process of gathering the legal documents from those 10 property owners and will file them when all 10 are received. JBWD Commissioners were available on two different evenings in late July to meet with those property owners and had available a notary to sign the documents.
JBWD has found that projects such as these are a long and complicated process. We experienced delays and unexpected hurdles throughout the project. The Department of Ecology and Island County’s review of the water right modification is complicated and has taken an unexpected amount of time to be ready for final review and approval. Our goal is to have all these Declaration of Restrictive Covenants ready for filing by August 4th, 2021.
If you desire more information or further explanation of this well consolidation process, please contact JBWD.