Our Sole Source Aquifer and the Hirst Decision

As a master watershed steward focused on protecting our groundwater resources and sole source aquifer, I also favor the Hirst ruling.  The first rule in development is whether or not there is enough aquifer water to support that new development for all of the years each house (and factory, and apartment building) stands.  Far more concern for apartment buildings and the huge amount of water withdrawal per acre they create.

This issue began due to the out of control development approved by people who have no training, degrees or knowledge of the laws that protect our water supply, nor in how to evaluate the impact of high density expansion in the unincorporated UGA where federal law forbids importation of outside sources of water.  We face that in this county all the time.  Recently, I had to yet again request that EPA confirm to Pierce County that the TPCHD has no authority over our SSA, and has no authority to approve continued high-density development where foreign sources of water (Green River) would be used.  Whether they like it or not, the TPCHD does in fact not have authority over the SSA.  They applied for the designation, but once it was granted and listed on the Federal Register, it became the child of EPA.  They also proved their inefficiency of protecting the SSA when they began approving importation of Tacoma water into our UGA.  They of all departments must know this is not allowed, yet they pretend they have that authority, and the planning dept. approves based on this erroneous pretense.

This must stop, as they simply do not have that authority.  I have established this firmly with this county already, and EPA has confirmed this to the county as well.

This is a very important issue in addressing city level development in our unincorporated UGA.  Already we have lost over 50% of our recharge capability.  Pushing development farther out into our unincorporated UGA will be very negative to our only source and supply of clean drinking water.  High-density development causes less recharge, more impervious surfaces (remember that even clearing land creates 100% impervious surfaces), much greater contamination danger and far more people taking water from the aquifer.  We have no way to assure the recharge from the remaining land will be enough to support our populace.  A situation of great concern, to be sure.  No science has been used in approving all of this new population withdrawing from the SSA without science based protected recharge being part of the equation.

It’s like a snake eating its tail.  Around and around, but never a solution.  We MUST protect our water!  We also MUST protect the water supply to our creeks, ponds and streams, therefore our rivers that they flow into.

It goes back to my oft repeated statement…..How can so many otherwise intelligent people be so STUPID???

Greed knows no bounds!

Cindy Beckett, Master Watershed Steward
no water – no life
The health of the people depends directly on the health of their watershed


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