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Council to Consider Override of Vetoed Drought Response Ordinance

Hannahlee Allers, hallers@spokanecity.org


Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 4:41 p.m.


At its June 6th Legislative Session, Spokane City Council will consider overriding the Mayoral veto of Ordinance C36209, which was passed by Council by a vote of 5-2 on May 23, 2022, and vetoed by the Mayor on June 2, 2022. The ordinance, which is sponsored by Council Member Lori Kinnear and Council President Breean Beggs, codifies city-wide water conservation goals and puts drought response measures in place that would activate during times of year when conditions are exceptionally dry.

The new law initially relies on education and incentives for reducing water usage and does not include any penalties. It sets clear standards needed to save ratepayers money in future infrastructure costs while preserving a vibrant Spokane River ecosystem and maintaining healthy landscaping in Spokane neighborhoods. There are exceptions in the ordinance for growing food and establishing new landscaping.

“The Mayor’s statement on her veto conflated the measures put in place during normal watering times versus drought-specific response times,” Kinnear says. “During non-drought times, residents should not water between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. or water more than 4 days per week. This saves residents and our City utility department money. We cannot continue to build infrastructure for three summer months a year when we overwater.”

“Spokane residents currently use more water on average per person per day than 97% of the rest of the country. Spokane’s water use increases drastically - 4-5 times winter baselines - during the summer months, when outdoor irrigation is much higher – building our infrastructure to meet the capacity requirements of these summer months is not fiscally responsible,” says Beggs. “This ordinance sets a basic water conservation standard that will save ratepayers money without penalizing them and it requires the City to increase educational efforts for the benefit of all in the community. I agree with the majority of Spokane residents surveyed that protecting the Spokane River and our aquifer should be one of City government’s high priorities.”

City Council will vote on the veto override as a Special Consideration during the 6:00 p.m. Legislative Session on June 6, 2022. Members of the public can attend the meeting in person in City Council Chambers or tune in on Channel 5 or online at https://www.facebook.com/spokanecitycouncil.