City still in talks with water group

Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson has reported that talks continue with an area water alliance.

Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson has reported that talks continue with an area water alliance.

During a Feb. 3 City Council workshop, Johnson said he and representatives from Auburn, Buckley and Sumner talked with the Cascade Water Alliance board Jan. 29.

During open discussion at the workshop, Johnson said the CWA and the city are in the process of developing some governmental principles.

“A lot of what CWA does will affect Bonney Lake, such as our property values,” noted Johnson.

Johnson said in the next four weeks a lot of work will be done on the matter and he will keep the City Council updated.

He said they hope to reach some type of agreement by the end of the month, whether it is purchasing water from CWA at the wholesale rate, or reaching water agreements with other cities.

“It will address a lot of our future needs and gives up an option on what we need,” Johnson said. “Cascade Water Alliance is very willing to work with all four cities.”

Johnson said CWA is looking at leasing space in Bonney Lake. “They’re doing a big public relations push and they want to be part of all the communities, especially Bonney Lake,” said Johnson. “It could happen in six to 12 months.”

Johnson told the council Tacoma is currently selling water to CWA.

Council member James Rackley asked Johnson if talks with Tacoma were on hold and Johnson answered affirmatively.

“If the Department of Ecology has its way, the end will be we all agree on something and move forward,” Johnson said.

Council member David Bowen agreed.

“Going forward is going to be an important issue for us,” he said.

Johnson said the city is pushing for a seat on the CWA board.

According to City Administrator Don Morrison, the city has been in discussions with CWA for several years. The city’s main interest is assuring the lake levels are reasonable for homeowners and recreation purposes.

Lowering the lake won’t affect a city water well or management of dikes and levees, Morrison added.

An agreement was finalized a year ago for CWA to purchase Lake Tapps from Puget Sound Energy for $39 million.

CWA will manage Lake Tapps for recreation purposes and enhancement of fish and the environment, and to serve as a municipal water supply.

A number of conditions must be met before closing the transaction. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission must approve the sale of the project, adjust all boundary lines and title insurance must be issued.

Currently, CWA is finishing the conditions of closing, according to Director of Planning Michael Gagliardo.

Reach Dannie Oliveaux at doliveaux@courierherald.com or 360-802-8209.

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