HB 1578

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.


Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Concerning irrigation district authority.

Sponsors: Representatives Dent, Ortiz-Self, McBride, Lovick, Dye, Harris and Griffey.

House Committee on Local Government

Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Telecommunications


An irrigation district (district) is a type of special purpose district with broad statutory authorization to engage in a wide range of activities and provide a myriad of services. Generally, districts provide for the construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of irrigation systems. Districts also may provide drainage, domestic water supply, and electric power facilities. Districts may finance their operations and actions through fees, charges, and assessments, but districts do not have the authority to impose property taxes.

Irrigation Districts – Board.

An irrigation district's board (board) may develop and sell, lease, or rent the use of the following:

Contractual Authority.

Subject to specified conditions, a district may enter into contracts or agreements or become part of a joint venture with various public and private entities for:

The public and private entities with which a district may engage in such energy projects include: federal agencies; states; municipalities; public utility districts; other districts; joint operating agencies; rural electric cooperatives; mutual corporations or associations; investor-owned utilities; or associations or other legal entities composed of any combination of such entities.


Irrigation Districts – Board.

An irrigation district's board (board) may sell, lease, or rent the use of water facilities and water derived from the operation of water facilities and electric facilities, including power derived from electric facilities, to public and private entities.

Contracts with Private Commercial and Industrial Entities.

A district may contract or enter into agreements with private commercial or industrial entities that:

A district may also work with a private commercial or industrial entity to:

Contractual Authority.

A district may enter into a contract or agreement to develop or own: (1) electric generating facilities for generating or transmitting electricity generated by water, solar power, thermal power, or batteries; and (2) water storage, pumping, and transmission facilities.

Limitations on District Liability.

If a district enters into a contract or agreement to create a legal entity or undertaking with an investor-owned utility or a private commercial or industrial entity, the district is severally liable only for its own acts.

When a district supplies money or property for planning, financing, acquisition, construction, operation, or maintenance of any common facility, the money or property cannot be credited or applied to the account of an investor-owned utility or private commercial or industrial entity. A district's undivided shares in a common facility cannot be charged with any debt or obligation of any investor-owned utility or private commercial or industrial entity or subject to a lien.

No action in connection with a common facility may be binding upon any district unless approved by the district's board.

Votes on Final Passage: