Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee

HB 1054

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Declaring water conservation practices to be a beneficial use of water for the purposes of relinquishment.

Sponsors: Representatives Chandler, Taylor, Nealey, Warnick, Walsh, Blake, Schmick, Klippert, Shea, Armstrong and Hinkle.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Encourages conservation practices by all water users.

  • Considers conservation practices a beneficial use for the purposes of relinquishment.

Hearing Date: 1/25/11

Staff: Courtney Barnes (786-7194).


Water rights may be relinquished when a person, for five or more consecutive years, abandons or voluntarily fails without sufficient cause to beneficially use water in accordance with their recorded right's terms. The water code provides a list of "sufficient causes" for voluntary non-use that protect a water right from relinquishment. Examples of sufficient causes that provide exemptions for the voluntary non-use of water include: drought or unavailability of water, certain military service, the operation of legal proceedings, and water conservation measures implemented under the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project [RCW 94.14.140].

Summary of Bill:

Water conservation practices by all water users are encouraged and are considered a beneficial use of water for the purposes of relinquishment.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.