Chapter 12.44


12.44.010    Findings.

12.44.020    Irrigation water policy.

12.44.030    Definitions.

12.44.040    Access to the city’s irrigation water development system may be required.

12.44.050    Objections/appeals.

12.44.060    Use of irrigation water.

12.44.070    Identification of pipe and appurtenances.

12.44.080    Ownership of mains and service connections.

12.44.090    Limits on cross-connections and conversions of irrigation water.

12.44.100    Conversion of existing potable water system.

12.44.110    User agreements.

12.44.120    Irrigation water connection and use charges.

12.44.130    Legal requirements.

12.44.140    Liability limits.

12.44.010 Findings.

The policies described herein are in the best interest of the city of Othello. This chapter promotes the public interest in protecting the city’s potable water supply, which is necessary for public health and safety, and to protect public and private property. The city is dependent on ground water sources and limited water rights. The ability to obtain additional water rights in the future is uncertain. Utilizing irrigation water available to the city for irrigation purposes can reduce the need for additional potable water, and ensure that the city’s existing potable water supply will be sufficient to meet the community’s potable water needs. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.020 Irrigation water policy.

It is the policy of the city that irrigation water shall be used within the city’s jurisdiction for all irrigation purposes for the preservation of public health, safety and welfare where connections to irrigation water lines are economically feasible and do not create an undue hardship on any landowner. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.030 Definitions.

The following terms are defined for purposes of this chapter:

“Agronomic rate” means the amount of water required to sustain and promote plant and vegetation growth without saturation of the underlying soils.

“City” means the city of Othello, Washington, or as indicated by the context, may mean the public works department, public works director, or other employee or agent representing the city in the discharge of its duties.

“Development” means any land use or building application, including but not limited to subdivision or short subdivision, placement permit, building permit whether new structure, addition, or remodel. Exception: The following permits do not constitute a “development” that triggers connection to the city’s irrigation water system: grading, mechanical, plumbing, reroof.

“Irrigation” means watering by sprinkling or dripping through orifices at normal agronomic rates.

“Irrigation service connection” or “service connection” means that portion of the city’s irrigation water distribution system connecting a user’s property to a city irrigation water distribution main. The term includes but is not limited to the tap into the main, piping, valve, and other appurtenances lying between the city’s distribution main and the user’s valve. The term does not include any piping or other appurtenances installed on the user’s side of the valve.

“Irrigation water distribution” or “irrigation water distribution system” means a piping system intended for the delivery of irrigation water separate from and in addition to the potable water system.

“Potable water” means water that is suitable for domestic purposes and human consumption and has been classified as a source of drinking water by the department of health.

“Property owners” are those persons or business entities who own lots that are either required to be serviced by the city’s irrigation water distribution system or, upon application to the city, are permitted to connect thereto.

“The system” references the city of Othello’s irrigation water distribution system that is the subject of this chapter. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.040 Access to the city’s irrigation water development system may be required.

(a)    When Mandated. For all development applications, the city engineer will make the preliminary determination as to whether the applicant will be required to connect to the city’s irrigation water distribution system or whether future connection facilities will be required. Connection will be required if the city engineer determines that:

(1)     Connection to the irrigation system is economically feasible.

That calculation will include comparing the estimated cost of connecting the system to lots contained in the proposed development to the costs that have been incurred in connecting to lots presently served by the irrigation water system.

(2)    The property is within a reasonable distance of the existing irrigation water distribution system.

It is expressly noted that the calculation of a “reasonable distance” is dependent on the size of the development but generally ranges from one hundred feet for an individual house to one-half mile for a subdivision; and

(3)    The irrigation water distribution system has sufficient capacity to serve the development.

(b)    When a Future Capacity to Connect May Be Required. If the city engineer determines that a connection to the system is not appropriate at the current time, he or she is authorized to determine that the proposed development must include facilities to accommodate the use of irrigation water in the future. City approval of the developer’s application shall then be subject to that condition.

(c)    Denial of Access to the City’s Irrigation Water Development System. The city engineer may also determine that it is impractical to connect a lot or lots to the irrigation water system and deny the lot owner’s application for connection. That decision may be appealed per Section 12.44.050.

(d)    Notice of the City Engineer’s Decision Will Be Provided to Development Applicants. After the city engineer makes his or her preliminary determination whether to require an applicant to connect to the city’s irrigation water distribution system, or whether to require facilities for future connection, the applicant will be provided written notice of such determination. Such notice will be provided to the applicant by email and/or United States Postal Service regular mail. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.050 Objections/appeals.

(a)    Property owners who receive a notice of preliminary determination herein may object to the city engineer’s decision by filing a notice of objection with the city clerk within thirty days after the preliminary notice was issued. The objection must be in writing and specify the reasons therefor. The city engineer’s preliminary determination to require a property owner to connect to the city’s irrigation water distribution system, to construct facilities to permit later connection to the system, or to deny access to the system shall be final if the property owner does not file a timely objection.

(b)    If an objection is filed, the city administrator or his designee shall review the objection with the property owner, and shall confirm, modify or abandon the determination. The city administrator’s decision will be sent to the appellant by certified mail. Any appeal from the city administrator’s decision must then be tendered to the city clerk within ten days after the date of the certified mailing. Such appeal will then be resolved by the city hearing examiner, pursuant to the procedures for resolution of land use appeals promulgated in Chapter 19.11. (Ord. 1543 § 2, 2019: Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.060 Use of irrigation water.

(a)    Acceptable Use. No person may use irrigation water for any human consumption, within any dwelling unit or structure, or in a way so as to contaminate the city’s potable water supply. Irrigation water service shall not be provided, and no person may use irrigation water, unless the connection from which the irrigation water is drawn has been inspected and approved by the city. Use of nonpotable water is restricted to outdoor uses other than human consumption, and may only be used on property connected to the city’s irrigation water system.

(b)    Irrigation Season. Irrigation water availability is dependent on water being provided by the United States Bureau of Reclamation via canals.

(c)    Time of Use. The city reserves the right to designate watering days and/or times for specific customers to improve system efficiency and preserve system capacity.

(d)    Limits on Withdrawal. In order to provide adequate irrigation water to all customers, individual homes are limited to withdrawing fifteen gallons per minute from the irrigation system. The city may set a different maximum rate of withdrawal for larger developments.

(e)    Maintenance Obligations. Irrigation water customers are expected to use irrigation water in an efficient manner and shall not permit wasting of water. Irrigation customers shall promptly repair broken pipes or malfunctioning sprinklers. The waste of water shall be grounds for the city to suspend access to irrigation water. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.070 Identification of pipe and appurtenances.

All irrigation water pipelines, valves, outlets, and other appurtenances installed by developers and/or private property owners, including all irrigation systems pipelines, valves and control boxes, shall be color-coded purple (Pantone 622 or other shades of purple acceptable to the city). The piping shall be embossed or integrally stamped or marked “Caution: Reclaimed Water – Do Not Drink,” and be installed with a purple identification tracer tape. The pipe and tape shall have the warning stamped on opposite sides of the pipe and tape and be repeated every three feet or less. Sleeves over standard water pipe will not be permitted. Signs for notification of irrigation water connections shall read “Reclaimed Water – Do Not Drink.” All spigots, faucets, or other appurtenances which dispense irrigation water shall have a sign conspicuously placed directly next to said appurtenance which states in English and Spanish: “This Property Is Irrigated With Reclaimed Water – Do Not Drink.” Signs shall be color-coded purple with black lettering. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.080 Ownership of mains and service connections.

(a)    City Ownership. Ownership of all mains, service connections and appurtenances in the public street or utility rights-of-way up to and including the valve shall be vested fully in the city. Upon completion and acceptance, these improvements shall be dedicated to the city.

(b)    Lot Owner’s Responsibility. The city shall operate, control, and maintain all approved and accepted components of the city irrigation water distribution system in the public streets or utility rights-of-way up to and including the valve to a service line, but shall not be responsible for any piping or appurtenances on private property outside the public streets or utility rights-of-way. The owner of the property served shall be responsible for maintenance of all pipe and fittings from the valve to his premises. No alteration shall be made to any connection nor shall any connection be made to the city’s irrigation water system without the approval of the city. All connections or alterations shall be made by the city’s public works department or by a contractor supervised by the city. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.090 Limits on cross-connections and conversions of irrigation water.

There shall be no cross-connections between the irrigation water and domestic (i.e., potable) water systems. Where both irrigation water and potable water are supplied to a property, cross-connection control in compliance with Chapter 12.22 shall be required. The cost of the cross-connection control device and the installation thereof shall be borne by the owner of the premises affected. The installation and periodic testing shall conform to the provisions of WAC 246-290-490.

No interconnection with private wells is allowed, nor may irrigation water be connected into a dwelling unit or buildings otherwise occupied for human use. (Ord. 1543 § 1, 2019; Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.100 Conversion of existing potable water system.

(a)    City May Require Conversion. The city may require an existing potable water user to convert their irrigation and/or other nonpotable uses of water to the use of irrigation water. The city may only make such a requirement when (1) a city irrigation water distribution main is within one thousand feet of the user’s property, and (2) the city requires all other similarly situated existing property owners to connect to the irrigation water system.

(b)    Notice of a City Conversion Order. Should the city determine to convert an existing potable water use to irrigation water, the city shall issue a notice of determination to the property owner at least six months before the deadline for said conversion. The notice shall be in writing and delivered by United States Postal Service certified mail to the property owner. Connection and usage fees shall be identified in the notice, as well as the deadline for conversion.

(c)    Conversion Order May Be Appealed. Property owners who appeal from a conversion order shall follow and be bound by the appeal procedures outlined in Section 12.44.050(b). (Ord. 1543 § 3, 2019: Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.110 User agreements.

(a)    User Agreement Required. All properties required to or requesting to use irrigation water from the city’s irrigation water system shall be subject to a user agreement.

(b)    Requested Service. Property owners may apply to the city for a user agreement for the use of irrigation water for allowed purposes. On a case-by-case basis, upon such application for a user agreement on property not covered by Section 12.44.040, staff shall review the application and make a determination whether the subject property shall be served with irrigation water. If staff determines that it is both economically feasible and in the public’s interest to provide irrigation water service to the subject property, then the application for the user agreement shall be accepted and processed.

(c)    User Agreement Conditions. The user agreement shall specify the design, construction, operation, maintenance and monitoring requirements for the applicant’s planned use—all of which are conditions of the user agreement. City staff shall review plans for the irrigation and nonirrigation water distribution systems for the property, and conduct a field inspection before the user agreement is granted. Irrigation water shall not be supplied to a property until inspection by staff determines that the applicant is in compliance with the user agreement conditions.

(d)    Application. All applications for irrigation water service shall be made at City Hall, and upon such form as may be prescribed by the city administrator or his designee. Every such application shall be made by the owner of the property to be furnished irrigation water, or by its authorized agent, and the applicant shall state fully and truly all the purposes for which the irrigation water may be used. Irrigation water service shall only be granted for uses allowed under Section 12.44.060.

(e)    Connection—General Requirements. When a user agreement has been approved and a permit has been issued for the installation of irrigation water service, then the property owner may cause the premises described in the application to be connected to the irrigation water system by a service pipe extending from the irrigation water main to the property line and a shutoff valve placed within the right-of-way. All such work shall be performed by a licensed and bonded plumbing contractor, and shall be completed under the supervision of the public works department. The city shall inspect the connection and confirm that it meets all required specifications before providing irrigation water.

(f)    Installation of Main. Whenever application is made for irrigation water service to premises, and there is no irrigation water distribution main in the adjacent street, then a standard irrigation water main must be installed prior to connection.

(g)    Expenses Borne by Users/Owners. Any irrigation water main shall be installed by and at the expense of the owner(s) of the premises to be served thereby, pursuant to plans reviewed and approved by the city engineer. In such cases the city will contract with the owner(s) to provide for reimbursement of the costs of design and construction of such main over a period not to exceed fifteen years pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 35.92 RCW. The actual cost must be approved by the city showing the method of determining benefit cost. The city shall record the contract in the office of the county auditor upon acceptance of construction of the main. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.120 Irrigation water connection and use charges.

(a)    Irrigation Water Rate. Where irrigation water is available abutting a property, the property owner shall pay the monthly irrigation water charge, whether irrigation water is used or not. Rates shall be set by the city council by resolution.

(b)    Irrigation Water Connection Charge. The irrigation water connection charge shall be set by city council by resolution.

(c)    Billing and Payments. Monthly statements of charges for irrigation water service shall be due and payable at City Hall on or before the tenth day of the month and are deemed delinquent thereafter. Delinquent accounts will be assessed a penalty as identified in the water ordinance. Statements shall cover service charges for the period shown thereon and shall be forwarded by mail to the customer as soon as practicable after each service period.

(d)    Nonpayment of Charges. Irrigation water service may be terminated for nonpayment whenever the property owner becomes two or more months in arrears on payment, whether or not those arrears are for consecutive months. Irrigation water service terminated for nonpayment shall not be restored to the nonpaying user until all delinquent charges, together with a service fee as identified in the water ordinance for restoring services, are paid. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.130 Legal requirements.

(a)    Rules and Regulations Applicable to Irrigation Water Users. Irrigation water service to any premises served by the city irrigation water system may be discontinued for any violation of the provisions of this chapter or the user agreement, after due notice thereof. In the event irrigation water service is discontinued for failure to comply with provisions of this chapter, it shall remain terminated for the duration of such noncompliance.

(b)    Inspection for Premises. Authorized employees of the public works department, properly identified, shall have free access at reasonable hours of the day, to all premises served by the city’s irrigation water system for the purpose of ascertaining conformity to this chapter.

(c)    Damaging or Interfering with Irrigation Water System. It is unlawful for any person to willfully disturb, break, deface, or damage any irrigation water, valve, box, water pipe, or other irrigation waterworks appurtenance together with the buildings, grounds and improvements thereon belonging to or connected with the irrigation water system of the city in any manner whatsoever. It is unlawful for any person to open, close, turn or interfere with, or attempt to, or to connect with, any irrigation water valve or pipe belonging to the city unless authorized by the city in writing.

(d)    Penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of an infraction per Section 1.10.030. Any such person shall, for each day of violation or portion thereof, be subject to the fine for such infraction. In addition, irrigation water and potable water service to the property may be discontinued.

(e)    Injunction. Whenever a discharge or use of irrigation water is in violation or threatens to cause a violation of this chapter, the city may seek injunctive relief as may be appropriate to enjoin such discharge or use. Where, prior to filing an action to obtain an injunction, the city issues a written warning or notice of violation to the responsible party, and the responsible party continues to violate or threaten to cause a violation of this chapter, then the city shall be entitled to recover its attorney fees and costs incurred to obtain such injunction.

(f)    User Agreement Revocation. In addition to any other law authorizing termination of irrigation water service, the city may revoke an irrigation water user agreement issued hereunder if a violation of any provision of this chapter is found to exist or if a use of irrigation water causes or threatens to cause violation of this chapter. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).

12.44.140 Liability limits.

(a)    The city will exercise reasonable diligence and care to furnish and deliver a continuous supply of irrigation water to the customer, and to avoid any shortage or interruption of delivery of water. The city will not be liable for any high or low pressure conditions, chemical or bacteriological conditions, interruptions, or shortage or insufficiency of supply, or any loss or damage. The use of water upon the premises of the customer is at the risk of the customer, and the responsibility of the city shall cease at the point of delivery of the water.

(b)    The city shall not be liable for any loss or damage of any nature whatsoever caused by any defect in the customer’s line, plumbing, or equipment, or caused by water through valves or pipes which may be open at the time water starts flowing.

(c)    The city reserves the right at any time, without notice, to shut off the irrigation water supply for repairs, extensions, nonpayment, or for any other reason, and the city shall not be responsible for any damage caused by the stoppage or interruption of water supply, including but not limited to breaking, bursting, or collapsing of any pipe or other type of fixture or the loss of plants or vegetation. (Ord. 1531 (part), 2019).