Water Update – The Legislature is back in session


January 17, 2017

Greetings Friends and Neighbors

Warnick Commitee

It has been a busy first week of the legislative session. Now that all the pomp and circumstance is over it is time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Wednesday I was selected by my colleagues to serve as the Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Caucus. In this capacity I will help preside at internal meetings and coordinate committee activities as liaison between leadership and committee chairs.

My committee, Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development, met for the first time this past Thursday to consider some legislation pertaining to water, one of my top priorities. Read more two of the bills that were heard and a link to the video of the proceedings.

Senate Bill 5010 – Promoting water conservation by protecting certain water rights from relinquishment.

This bill would give agricultural water users credit for their conservation efforts. Right now there is somewhat of a negative incentive for people to use more water than they need because it is a use-it-or-lose-it system under current law.

Senate Bill 5003 – Clarifying authority of the department of ecology regarding minimum flow.

This legislation would give more flexibility to the state Department of Ecology to make more water available. This comes on the heels of some cities not being able to get water even after implementing mitigation efforts. It clarifies existing law.

HWY 97

I am also working with my colleagues on legislation to address the recent Hirst decision by the state Supreme Court. This decision amounts to a war on rural Washington by making household wells almost impossible to obtain. The decision not only places a burden on prospective homeowners to pay for costly studies, but it may also set up conflict between the state and counties regarding the availability of water. This decision has wide-ranging effects and not just on new home building. It could also impact education funding through lower property taxes and lost revenue and chill rural economic development.

It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your state government. Please watch your email, as I look forward to providing you with regular updates throughout the session.


Judy Warnick,

13th District Senator

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