PO Box 13324, Olympia, WA 98508 info@thurstonclimateaction.org

Where’s the Water: Reality Check

February 5, 2019 - 5:30 PM
Olympia Community Center
222 Columbia St NW, Olympia

Focusing on Ground Water and Instream Flows in Thurston County and the Nisqually River at I-5. 


  • Kevin Hansen, TC hydrogeologist, will speak about water availability and the relation between instream flows and groundwater.
  • David Troutt, Natural Resources director of the Nisqually tribe, will talk about I-5 as a dam and restoring the estuary.

Members of the League of Women Voters of Thurston County (LWV-TC) have been working on the Thurston County Water Realities Study—Part II, and have been learning about the most urgent factors faced by Thurston County as it encounters increasingly longer and drier summers, shorter wetter rainy periods, and a growing population. Local streams are supporting fewer and fewer salmon. Ground water reservoirs are not being sufficiently recharged.

Given that the quality and quantity of Thurston County water is complicated by factors that include the Hirst Decision and a subsequent law passed by the Legislature in March 2018, the LWV-TC Study Group will host Four Public Meetings in early 2019.

Meeting 1—Where’s the Water: Reality Check. Tuesday, February 5 at the Olympia Center, 5:30 pm.
Focusing on Ground Water and Instream Flows in Thurston County and the Nisqually River at I-5.

Meeting 2—Where’s the Water: Looking Ahead. Tuesday, March 5 at the Olympia Center, 5:30 pm.
Focusing on What We Know is Wrong and How to Fix It.

Meeting 3—Where’s the Water: Helping Residents and Farmers Manage Water Runoff. Tuesday, March 19 at the Yelm Community Center, 5:30 pm.
Focusing on How the Thurston Conservation District Helps Residents and Farmers Protect the Environment.

Meeting 4—Where’s the Water: Toxic Runoff. Tuesday, April 2 at the Olympia Center, 5:30 pm.
Focusing on Toxic Road Runoff—How Big is the Problem and How Do We Correct It.

HISTORY: Realizing that the need for water and its consumption is constantly changing, members at the Thurston League Annual Meeting in May 2018, adopted a two-year study designed to update the LWV-TC study “Thurston County Water Realities in Relation to Planned Development, 2008.” Embarking on an update of the initial study, we keep in mind the Rowland Howard quote from 1856: “You never miss the water until the well runs dry.”

There are several documents that serve as background for this study:

  • The LWV Thurston County 2008 study may be seen HERE
  • State Senator Karen Fraser’s presentation in November 2017 about “Water Rights and the ‘Hirst Decision'” HERE  
  • Sustainable Thurston: Water Infrastructure White Paper, October 31, 2014 (HERE)
  • Sustainable Thurston: Case Studies of Water Efficiency in Thurston County, November 4, 2014 (HERE)

Click ICAL to add this event to your own calendar.