Frequently Asked Questions
Is Deer Creek Water Association accepting new Members or additional connections for existing Members?
Yes. As of March 1, 2011 we have a significant number of new connections available. Howver new Memberships or Additional Authorized Connections are available only on a “first come, first served” basis.
New connections in the “shared service area” along Guide Meridian south of Smith Road may be offered once the procedures and details are worked out with the City of Bellingham.
Can I add an additional home or mobile home to my existing connection?
No. Not unless it is approved under Whatcom County provisions for a temporary auxiliary residence and is also approved by the Association. It must be temporary, meet overall size limitations, be truly temporary in nature, and meet certain requirements for need. Check with Whatcom County Planning and Development first to determine their requirements.
Does the Association currently have a waiting list for Memberships or connections?
No. The waiting list was established March 7, 2002 by the Board of Directors and its expiration was extended from March 7, 2005 until December 31, 2006 and again until December 31, 2007 by action of the Board of Directors. The waiting list expired at the end of 2007 and has not been extended, renewed or replaced by the Board.
How much water can I use?
The simple answer is “the minimum you actually need.” However the problem is defining what is “needed.” Generally speaking, the absolute maximum quantity a Member may use is 650 gallons per day. Most Members use considerably less, even during the summer months, but a few use much more.
The Department of Ecology determines (through Water Rights) the maximum amount of water that the Association may pump, both instantaneously (in gallons per minute) and annually (in acre-feet). The Department of Health then determines how many ERU’s (Equivalent Residential Units) the Association is allowed to connect. To the best of our knowledge, the Department of Ecology has not granted new water rights in Whatcom County in well over a decade.
The Association has committed a connection, and a fair share of the available water, to every Member, even if they have not yet built on their property. When one Member uses more than one ERU quantity of water, they are in essence using the water planned for another Member’s use. For the most part, Deer Creek Water Association Members are very responsible and are not wasting water.
At this time, and for the foreseeable future, water is a finite resource and must be shared. State regulations require that the Association have a Water Use Efficiency Program and that we set goals for distribution system leakage and to reduce average daily use. Changes in the use of a property that may increase the quantity of water used must be reviewed by the Board to ensure that the use will not be excessive. Multiple connections are generally not allowed.
Is there anything I can do to help increase our water allowances?
Yes. You can write your local legislators and ask them to solve the problem.
Water Rights are controlled by the Department of Ecology. Our number of authorized connections is controlled by the Department of Health. Both departments need to answer to the people of this state through our State Legislature.
Growth management is a function of governments and should not be the job of water systems. If land is zoned for building, then the necessary resources should be allocated to the appropriate entities to allow for the orderly development of that land.
Potable water for human consumption should not be less important than water for other uses. The Legislature needs to address the issue of people being forced to drill “exempt” wells in order to build their home, when a water system is available and would be willing to serve their needs, but is not allowed to because of not being allowed additional water withdrawals.
Government generally does not monitor exempt wells for compliance or water quality; meanwhile Group A and Group B private water systems (Deer Creek Water Association is a non-profit Group A) are highly regulated and monitored. Every additional exempt well is another potential site for contamination of the aquifers on which a good portion of county residents depend.
Your voice and your vote are key to addressing the growing problem. If the majority of citizens don’t speak up, drinking water will become ever more costly and hard to acquire as activists try to limit your ability to develop your land or build your home on your land through increasing regulations and bureaucracy.
Potable water should not become the new “oil” economy where only the well-to-do can afford it or the politically connected can acquire it.