(By Don C. Brunell/Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at theBrunells@msn.com.)
In Washington, the legislative stalemate over permitting new household wells and the state’s construction budget has not only delayed needed funding for public projects, but triggered yet another salvo in the wider conflict over future supplies of fresh water for people, fish and farms.
At immediate risk is $4.2 billion in state funding for local water and sewer projects, school construction, mental-health facilities, colleges and universities, and, other construction. While there is general agreement between Democrats controlling the House and the coalition of mostly Republicans in charge of the Senate on the budget, there are substantial differences over how or whether to fix a water dispute called the “Hirst Decision.”