Tight budgets and plenty of water (for now) has given Lincoln City and Newport pause whether to pursue hooking Rocky Creek up to their water systems to boost supplies. Rocky Creek, long coveted by the two cities as well as other communities for future water supplies, is seen as a prime candidate since it is not salmon habitat.
But the recession and the fact there’s enough water for now has prompted Lincoln City and Newport to put their plans for tapping Rocky Creek back on the shelf. Both city councils over the past two weeks have hesitated to spend a quarter million dollars between them to pay for updating their applications to state water regulators.
Both councils said Rocky Creek, located half-way between them, can reasonably be expected to be there for the next five to ten years, time for the recession to fade away and for city revenues to return to normal. At that point they may re-apply. The state is therefore expected to close the water-use application until such time Newport, Lincoln City or any other water entity shows an interest.
It was back in the 1950s that Rocky Creek was flumed and sent under a new Highway 101 and the Otter Crest Loop Road. It destroyed salmon access from the sea to their home spawning grounds up the creek. So today, there are no salmon in Rocky Creek. Even conservation groups have gone on record as supporting the two cities’ application for tapping Rocky Creek, for in so doing they would not be eyeing rivers and creeks that do support salmon, for future water supplies.
When or if the cities re-apply for Rocky Creek water rights, they’ll have to assess their population growth forecasts, water use patterns, conservation mandates and other elements to get the state to re-open the issue. All other entities, including Yachats, Waldport, Depoe Bay, even Toledo would have to re-submit their own pertinent paperwork. City Public Works Director Lee Ritzman tells NewsLincolnCounty.com that he knows of no community or agency that might emerge to apply to get access to Rocky Creek water.Share on Facebook