Senate approves Warnick bill to encourage agricultural conservation

Sen. Judy Warnick’s legislation to promote agricultural conservation, Senate Bill 5010, was approved by the Senate Tuesday evening. The bill would protect irrigators’ water rights from relinquishment if the water allotment was not fully used due to conservation or efficiency efforts. The Senate approved the legislation 27 to 22 through a mainly party-line vote.

“The current system favors a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ approach that could lead to wasting our valuable water resources,” said Warnick, who chairs the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee. “This legislation would reward agricultural water users for their conservation efforts without the risk of losing their unused water rights.”

There are other exemptions for water-rights relinquishment, but none aimed at conservation or efficiency.

“Our agricultural producers are good stewards of our state’s natural resources, and this would give them another tool to be a leader in those efforts,” added Warnick