CWNA received the announcement below from the City of Bend on August 24, 2017 and would like to share the news with our neighborhood association.
In a unanimous decision issued today, August 23, 2017, a panel of three Ninth Circuit Court judges ruled in favor of the City of Bend and the U.S. Forest Service in a long-standing lawsuit about the City’s drinking water improvement project.
“We are pleased to put this behind us,” said Mayor Casey Roats. “We can now focus our energies on the other important infrastructure needs facing the City.” The City has long diverted its municipal drinking water from Tumalo Creek and Bridge Creek, part of a dual-source system of surface water and groundwater.
The Forest Service granted the City a permit to operate a water intake facility for withdrawing surface water and a pipeline for transporting water on Deschutes National Forest land. Central Oregon Landwatch and WaterWatch of Oregon challenged the Forest Service authorization of the City’s improvements to the drinking water intake and pipeline improvement project. The pipeline runs underneath Skyliners Road, which connects the National Forest to City limits.
The panel of judges today affirmed prior court decisions that sided in favor of the City. The decision reiterates that in improving the City’s drinking water infrastructure, the City of Bend and the U.S. Forest Service did not hurt fish habitat or fail to consider effects of climate change.
The court affirmed the Forest Service determination that the project would improve conditions in Tumalo Creek and had complied with federal laws. The court agreed that consideration of reduced amounts of surface water diversion or groundwater-only options would not be reasonable in light of the needs of the City’s municipal water system.
In 2016, the City built the new pipe that diverts the City’s drinking water from Bridge Creek. It replaced two existing pipelines that were built in the 1920s and 1950s. The City also built a new intake facility to protect fish and better control how much water is diverted. The original intake facility was built in 1926.
“These improvements are an example of responsible long-term investments for our community’s future,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Sally Russell. “Environmental impacts are always valid concerns and I’m pleased to know that the agreement resulted in more stringent monitoring of Tumalo Creek. It’s in the City’s best interest to protect the stream and our amazing drinking water.
Volunteer for City of Bend's Century West Neighborhood Association.