Working Together for Lake Whatcom Water Quality

Joint Resolution

Whatcom County Council No. 92-73
Bellingham City Council No. 92-68
Water District 10 No. 560


WHEREAS, Lake Whatcom and its associated watersheds, is currently the source of drinking water for approximately half the residents in the County; and

WHEREAS, water quality and quantity concerns throughout the county now and in the future will significantly impact the availability of safe, adequate supplies of water for the future; and

WHEREAS, many potential and actual documented sources of contamination exist within the Lake Whatcom watershed with particular concerns associated with development and urbanization within the watershed; and

WHEREAS, numerous studies exist across the United States which document the correlation between urbanization and water quality degradation, and as development increases within the watershed, the probability of adverse water quality impacts increases; and

WHEREAS, the Stormwater Runoff Project conducted by Western Washington University in 1990-1991 provided local documentation illustrating the occurrence of water quality degradation associated with urbanized vs. non-urbanized areas; and

WHEREAS, protection of the resource is in the long run generally less than the cost of treatment or replacement of the supply should it become contaminated; and

WHEREAS, the potential for adverse short and long-term public health impacts is substantially less if protection efforts are given priority over treatment; and

WHEREAS, the adoption of common goals will aid the City, County and Water District 10 in carrying out activities that will protect, preserve and enhance water resources in the Lake Whatcom Watershed.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WHATCOM COUNTY AND WATER DISTRICT 10 that the following general goal statements are hereby adopted, as well as the specific goal statements which are attached hereto:

General Goal Statements:

To recognize Lake Whatcom and its watershed as the major drinking-water reservoir for the County and develop public and private management principles for the lake and watershed consistent with a drinking water reservoir environment. Affirm this goal by establishing the name: Lake Whatcom Reservoir.

To protect, preserve and enhance water quality and manage water quantity to ensure long-term sustainable supplies for a variety of uses, with priority placed on domestic water supply. Management programs and actions will be made in recognition of existing contractual agreements and potential for review and renegotiation in light of these goals.

To prioritize protection over treatment in managing Lake Whatcom and its watersheds. Management actions shall reflect a long term view of replacement or treatment costs.

To manage water quantity to sustain long-term efficient use of the water for beneficial uses within the county that are consistent with a drinking-water reservoir, and recognize the integral link with the Nooksack River and associated water resource concerns.

To ensure that opportunities for public comment and participation are provided in policy and management program development, and to promote public awareness and responsible individual actions.

To promote learning, research, and information opportunities which better our understanding of the watershed system, the impacts of activities, and the benefits and potentials of policies implemented.

[The above resolution was signed by Bellingham Council President on November 30, 1992, Whatcom County Council Chair on November 30, 1992 and by Water District 10 Commissioners on December 11, 1992.]


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