Issue: The availability of dependable, predictable water supply is crucial to the continued economic wellbeing of the 15th Legislative District.
Discussion: In much of the 15th Legislative District, agriculture relies heavily on the availability of irrigation water to prosper. We must look to the future and promote water storage, water conservation and the ability to transfer water to areas which need it. Relinquishment or "use it or lose it" must be amended to encourage water conservation practices to the benefit of our area agriculturalists.
In order to encourage commercial and industrial growth in the 15th Legislative District, water must be available for use. Once again, water storage and water right transfers are key to future economic development in our region. Proper, incentive based water conservation can provide water to future commercial and industrial businesses in our area.
Finally, State Government has mandated jurisdictions to focus growth into existing cities and towns, yet nothing has been done to assist municipalities in enlarging their water rights to serve the increased population. Water storage, conservation and transfers are all potential answers to our region's population growth.
Solutions: If appointed as the 15th District Representative, I will work to amend the "use it or lose it" (relinquishment) provisions of Washington Water Law which ignores whether the water was actually abandoned by the owner. Amending the law to place the burden of proving that a water right owner intended to abandon their water right on the State and/or opponent will promote water conservation and water right transfers for new uses.
In addition, I will work to promote additional water storage in order to provide dependable, predictable water supply. Areas within the 15th District have experienced several droughts over the past decade. Additional water storage will remove the unpredictability facing our agricultural industry in any given year.
Lastly, I will work to provide an incentive based water conservation program that supports the agricultural community, promotes economic development and allows municipalities to grow. Water right owners that conserve water must be able to transfer that water for new uses.