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Published on Friday, February 3, 2017

New responses to the Hirst and Foster water rights court decisions will be heard in the House

We have been updating you on our efforts to resolve challenges created by recent Supreme Court decisions on the management of water in Washington State. In order for us to be able to accommodate the growth pressures we will face tomorrow let alone the pressures we face today, the water code needs a tune up.

There are a number of bills on this topic this session, and we are engaging in the conversation to help bring some closure to the issue this session. Our fundamental interest is in ensuring that there is rational management of the state’s water resources that allows cities to secure water for future growth through a predictable and attainable path. We think that means the legislature needs to grapple with how to provide enough flexibility to move forward.

Our proposal to provide that flexibility while retaining strong resource protections is HB 1885 by Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland). This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on February 7 along with HB 1918 from Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell). On February 8 the Committee will hold a public hearing on a number of other bills aimed at addressing this issue.

This will be a difficult needle to thread, and a lot of important interests care deeply about the outcome. None of these bills will pass in their current form, and there is a lot of negotiation ahead to find common ground. Please contact Carl Schroeder if you have thoughts or feedback on this issue.

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