Lacey-Olympia-Yelm Water Rights - An Example for the Future Procurement of Municipal Water Supplies

  • 25 Oct 2012
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • The Event Space, 203 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma


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Dinner Meeting

Lacey-Olympia-Yelm Water Rights - An Example for the Future Procurement of Municipal Water Supplies


Michael J. Gallagher, LHG; Section Manager, SWRO Water Resources Program, Department of Ecology


In late 2010 and early 2011, the cities of Lacey, Yelm and Olympia (jointly with the Nisqually Tribe) submitted to Ecology coordinated mitigation plans for a series of new and transfer water rights in northern Thurston County.  The water rights totaled more than 37,500 acre-feet per year.  Each water right application package modeled impacts in the Nisqually and Deschutes Basins, and the McAllister Creek, Woodland Creek and Yelm Creek Sub-basins. 


The three cities collaboratively used the same regional groundwater model to evaluate groundwater and surface water impacts, and combined their planning efforts and financial investment to propose a series of mitigation actions.  These actions included recharging reclaimed wastewater, purchasing and retiring existing water rights, land purchases for riparian improvements, and other “out-of-kind” mitigation actions.  In 2012, Ecology approved and permitted Olympia’s water right changes and approved Lacey’s six new water right applications.  Ecology also approved Yelm’s application for new groundwater.  Yelm’s permit was appealed by a local resident group; their appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Pollution Control Hearings Board in December 2012. 


Overall, this joint mitigation effort can serve as a good example for how other municipalities and water systems can effectively and sustainably obtain new water for expected long-term growth in basins that have in-stream flow rules.


Speaker bio:


Mike Gallagher has been with the Washington State Department of Ecology for 28 years.  For the past four years, Mike has worked for the Water Resources Program in the Southwest Region as a unit supervisor/hydrogeologist and for the past year as the section manager for the SWRO Water Resources Section.  For the previous 10 years, Mike held the position as the agency Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBT) Coordinator, originally in the Environmental Assessment Program and eventually in the Waste 2 Resources Program.  Earlier, Mike was section manager of the Toxics Cleanup Program in Ecology’s NWRO and worked in the Toxics Cleanup Program as a hydrogeologist and unit supervisor.  Mike holds a BS in Geology from the University of Puget Sound, a MS in Geology from Western Michigan University, and a Masters in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College.  Mike and his wife and two daughters enjoy hiking, biking, traveling, camping and working in their yard.

Event Details:

October 25, 2012

Social 5:30-6:15

Dinner 6:15-7:00

Presentation 7:00-8:00


Students: Free

Member: $30

Non-Members: $40

Membership is required to register for events.  

Cancellation Policy: WA-AWRA will fully refund the registration fee if cancellation notice is received within 5 days of the event.


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