Letters to the Editor

Navy golf water won’t hurt public

The Washington Department of Ecology appreciates your report of May 16, 2012, on a water right issued last year for the U.S. Navy’s 18-hole Gallery Golf Course.

Neighboring well owners who still have concerns about how golf course  irrigation will impact their water use should know that Ecology has taken all the necessary steps to ensure that the water right was allocated consistent with state law and is not detrimental to the public welfare.

The Navy complied with all required procedures to obtain the water right and worked with one of the top hydrogeology firms in the state to ensure the groundwater withdrawal will not impair any existing water rights in the area. The permit is for 120-acre feet of water per year, calculated from scientifically based standards in the Washington Irrigation Guide.

Ecology issued the permit in July 2011, but only after the Navy and Ecology met all public notification requirements of state law. The Navy paid for newspaper notices on the permit application twice in 2010. Ecology’s draft report of how the water right could impact other water uses in the area was posted on Ecology’s website for 30 days in April 2011. A final report was posted in June 2011. Ecology received no public comments on either report.

Before issuing the permit, Ecology studied the possibility of movement of groundwater contamination from a former landfill to the east-northeast of the golf course. From the Navy consultant’s modeling, Ecology determined that a geological fault between the golf course and the landfill site will prevent the flow of contaminated groundwater.

Ecology puts the public’s interest and welfare first in allocating the use of the state’s waters. Your readers who have more questions on this issue can call 360-407-7139.

Maia Bellon
Program manager

Water Resources
Department of Ecology


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