Warnick appointed to drought committee as governor declares emergency

Sen. Judy Warnick has been appointed to the Joint Legislative Committee on Drought. Her selection came ahead of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Friday-morning declaration of a drought emergency for the east side of the central Cascade Mountains.

“I spoke with the Department of Ecology about the impending drought declaration and am glad that the governor is prioritizing this issue,” said Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “There may be funding available and we will look at any options to make sure that we can respond proactively to issues raised by the drought.”

According to Inslee’s office, the state Department of Ecology has requested $9 million to address drought relief via emergency water-right permits, transfers and changes to current water rights.

Prior to the drought declaration Warnick, chair of the Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee, had scheduled a work session March 23 to discuss drought issues.

“Water access and conservation is something that affects our entire state,” Warnick said. “Drought conditions place pressure on our food supply, our families and communities. We need to find creative and collaborative solutions to make sure we can continue to provide water in critical areas. I will be bringing up these issues in my committee and fighting for relief when the drought committee meets.”

Washington has 62 watersheds, 34 of which are projected to have less than 75 percent normal water supply. Ecology has been working with municipalities to review the watersheds, several of which are in the 13th District.