The District covened an Advisory Committee (AC) to help address how best to put the District's unused water to beneficial use. See below for link to AC composition and charter.
The District and Advisory Committee completed a thoughtful, community-based planning process over a 15-month period to address issues facing the District and our community. The planning process addresses two key issues: 1) the District's ageing infrastructure, since the regional water system is 50 years old; and 2) implications stemming from loss of the District's industrial customer base (since both pulp mills are permanently shuttered). Awareness of our issues was raised and valuable input received from stakeholder groups and the public. The Advisory Committee presented their findings and recommendations to the District in a comprehensive report:
Given the Advisory Committee's recommendations, the Board segmented the recommended water-use options into two tiers. The District will pursue the top-tier options before pursuing second-tier options. The top-tier options are ones the District will actively consider, evaluate, and as appropriate, pursue. The top-tier options are:
a) local commercial/industrial or agricultural water sales (this includes other options, like aquaculture, which were recommended by the AC).
b) transfer of available water to another public agency for an authorized beneficial use such as municipal, industrial, environmental, etc. This would only be done in a manner that is fully protective of our local community interests and takes into account priorities outlined by the public during the outreach process.
c) dedicating some portion of the available water (which for much of the year would otherwise be in storage at Ruth reservoir) for in-stream flows. This would only be done if there are defined environmental benefits and financial support for conducting necessary studies.
More discussion of the top-tier options can be found in the District's ”Implementation Plan to Evaluate and Advance Recommended Water Use Options"