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District 19 gets OK to extract water from Morgan Hill well

King County Water District 19 got state approval last month to begin extracting water from its so-called Morgan Hill Well, an authorization it first sought nearly 15 years ago.

The new well, which the district will put into service this summer, will deliver up to 35 gallons of water per minute, said Jeff Lakin, District 19’s general manger. That’s a small amount of water, he noted; the two wells at its well field behind the Sheffield Building produce 150 gallons per minute.

Even so, he said, the district believes that the Morgan Hill Well, combined with water officials hope will soon be coming out of the Beall Well, will enable the district to temporarily end its moratorium on new water shares for the first time in 15 years.

Lakin is currently conducting a capacity analysis, he said. It appears the district will be able to issue 20 new water shares from its waiting list, which currently holds requests for about 300 shares. 

“We’re banking on both of the wells coming online at the same time, and that’s what’s going to give us that surplus,” Lakin said.

The district has issued a handful of shares since its moratorium began 15 years ago, but not due to increased water capacity, Lakin said. Rather, a few people have given up existing shares, enabling the district to sell those shares to others.

The person next in line on the list — Doug Kelbaugh of Ann Arbor, Mich. — has an outstanding request for 25 shares, Lakin said. Kelbaugh owns a 10-acre parcel off of Bank Road near 103rd Avenue S.W.

The Morgan Hill well took a long time in part because of manganese — which has a bad taste and odor — found in its water. What’s more, the district had to go through a complex process to secure a water right for the well; water rights are limited under state policy. 

 

Ultimately, it was allowed to transfer a right from an existing non-functioning well to the one at Morgan Hill. The district also got a manganese mitigation plan approved for the well, Lakin said. 

 

 

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