February 11, 2014

By Staff

Water wars are over and what did we get?

The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District and the city of Issaquah have settled their differences surrounding a filtration system in the Issaquah Highlands.

The water district feared the system could contaminate the water supply. The city was sure no such thing would happen.

The essence of the deal is that the district will spend up to $1 million to shut down the system, and the city promises it won’t try and take over the water district — a different but related issue — for at least 10 years. The filtration system, which wasn’t being used, will continue not to be used. Water will be diverted to Issaquah Creek, where it’s been going for the past few years.

That will keep the water supply safe. Of course, the salmon in the creek may have a different opinion about how good a deal it is. No one seems to have asked them, although the state assures us they’ll be fine.

Both sides happily patted each other on the back for wrapping up the dispute. If only they’d tried harder to sort things out earlier.

Not long after the dispute started, they called in lawyers, engineers and PR consultants. Name-calling and dirty tricks followed fast. Taxpayer and ratepayer money was spent in a desperate attempt to show the other side was wrong.

Now, the dust has settled, and in exchange for a public battle where people worried they might be drinking fecal matter, we, the people, get: the status quo. Money and staff time were sent down the drain just to keep things the way they are.


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