Whatcom County Drought Contingency Plan –
Bureau of Reclamation

On behalf of water resource stakeholders, such as farmers, cities, Whatcom County government, water districts and associations, and others who wish to build resiliency to drought and climate change in Whatcom County, the PUD submitted an application for funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to assist in developing a Drought Contingency Plan for Whatcom County.  Matching funds from the PUD was also used to support the grant.  (Scroll down to view the Plan.)

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Drought Response Program, provides assistance to states, local governments, and tribes to prepare for and address drought in advance of a crisis.  The Drought Response Program supports a proactive approach to drought by providing financial assistance to water managers to:

  1. Develop and update comprehensive drought plans (Drought Contingency Planning);
  2. Implement projects that will build long-term resiliency to drought (Drought Resiliency Projects); and,
  3. Implement emergency response actions.

The project received local support from various entities including the Ag Water Board, Birch Bay Water and Sewer District, the City of Bellingham, the City of Lynden, the Lummi Nation, Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Whatcom County Executive Office.

To ensure broad involvement of local stakeholders, the PUD created the Drought Contingency Plan Task Force, comprised of representatives of various stakeholder groups covering the broad sectors of water uses and water users in the County.  The Task Force met periodically and provided information to the PUD’s consultant, RH2 Engineering, Inc., who was selected to assist the PUD with the plan.

As the DCP developed, the Task Force involved stakeholders with interests in both in-stream and out-of-stream water uses to ensure that the mitigation and response actions that are developed will address the broad range of anticipated drought impacts in the County.

Local Stakeholders invited to participate in the Task Force:

Ag Water Board
Birch Bay Water and Sewer District
City of Bellingham
City of Blaine
City of Ferndale
City of Lynden
Environmental Caucus

Forestry Caucus
Nooksack Indian Tribe
Lummi Indian Tribe
PUD No. 1 of Whatcom County
WA State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
WA State Dept. of Ecology
WSU Extension

Water Systems, Inc.
Whatcom Conservation District
Whatcom County Executive’s Office
Whatcom County Planning & Dev. Services
Whatcom County Public Works

The Bureau of Reclamation accepted the Whatcom County Drought Contingency Plan in September, 2019.  By clicking on the PDF link below, the final, approved plan can be viewed or downloaded.

Whatcom County Drought Contingency Plan