Water Initiative Gains Ballot Spot
Local Digest, The Seattle Times, July 21, 2001
SEATTLE — A city initiative that would require Seattle to set aside conserved water for salmon instead of selling it to suburbs has received enough signatures to make the November ballot, said Julie Anne Kempf, King County superintendent of elections. Seattle owns the watershed that provides water to much of the fast-growing Eastside, and Initiative 63 would require the city to use that clout to discourage sprawl and save salmon. The measure calls on Seattle Public Utilities to accelerate conservation and to leave the saved water in streams instead of selling it to other cities. The water could be "loaned" to water districts outside Seattle only if it would not endanger fish and if the water borrower agreed to conservation measures at least as strict as those in Seattle. I-63 would also subsidize water-saving equipment, such as efficient toilets, for low-income residents. And the initiative would penalize the biggest water users with higher rates during peak hours. The initiative is backed by a coalition of environmentalists but opposed by some city and utility officials, who fear it would upset relationships between Seattle and outlying cities.
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