Dear friends and neighbors,
When you think about King County, you think about skyscrapers, traffic jams and a booming tech industry. However, King County also contains large swaths of rural land, and much of that rural land lies within the borders of the 5th Legislative District. As I represent this unique district, I have an obligation to stand up for not only city dwellers and suburbanites but rural homeowners too.
This summer, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling that has caused major headaches for people who have recently decided to purchase rural land. This ruling, known as the Hirst Decision, has prompted some counties to ban landowners from digging a well on their property.
In the past, property owners could dig certain types of small wells without water rights as long as the owner drew fewer than 5,000 gallons of water per day. But because of the Hirst ruling, this is now prohibited – leaving some people who have recently purchased land but have not dug their wells stuck in development limbo.
As so often happens around here, a Supreme Court ruling now warrants the need for legislative action. While I am sympathetic to concerns that we need to do our best to preserve our water resources, I don’t think people who have recently purchased rural property should be prevented from living their dreams.
That’s why I voted in favor of Senate Bill 5239, which would allow rural homeowners to retain the ability to dig small wells on their property.
The measure narrowly passed the Senate and now heads to the House for further consideration. I’m confident we can negotiate a solution that allows people to live the lives they choose while at the same time includes provisions to protect our state’s water supply for generations to come.