SENATE BILL 5030
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1997 Regular Session
By Senator Horn
Read first time 01/13/97. Referred to Committee on Agriculture & Environment.
AN ACT Relating to the appropriation of water from lakes and reservoirs for single‑family residential noncommercial garden and landscape irrigation; adding a new section to chapter 90.03 RCW; creating new sections; and providing an expiration date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. (1) The legislature finds that as demands on water resources increase, water must be used in a manner that is most beneficial to the natural resources of the state, while avoiding unnecessary capital costs and public infrastructure expenditures. The legislature also finds that in appropriate circumstances, use of water from lakes and reservoirs by shoreland owners will allow more water to remain in rivers and streams for stockwater, fish, wildlife, municipal drinking water, and recreation. The legislature also finds that use of municipally treated drinking water for garden and landscape irrigation may in some cases be an unnecessary use of the public infrastructure, creating the need for additional public facilities to meet the demands of growing populations.
(2) The legislature finds that while there may be numerous benefits to using lake water in urban settings to water lawns and noncommercial gardens, the legislature also finds that great caution must be exercised when establishing a new exemption from the standard permit processing system for appropriating increasingly scarce water resources. The legislature therefore declares that any appropriations made under chapter . . ., Laws of 1997 (this act) shall be limited to lakes and reservoirs in Washington that are equal to or greater than twenty thousand surface acres.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 90.03 RCW to read as follows:
(1) The department shall determine whether there is sufficient water in a lake or reservoir with a surface area of twenty thousand acres or more to allow owners of single-family residences that abut the lake or reservoir to use water for noncommercial garden and landscape irrigation.
(2) In making the determination provided for in subsection (1) of this section, the department shall consider at least the following factors:
(a) Whether there is water available to be appropriated;
(b) Whether allowing additional appropriation from the lake or reservoir will have an adverse impact on existing water right holders;
(c) The existing uses and applications for uses of water from the lake or reservoir;
(d) The effect on stockwater, fish, wildlife, and other instream resources of allowing or not allowing withdrawal from the lake or reservoir; and
(e) The lake's or reservoir's physical characteristics, including depth, volume, surface area, inflows, outflows, and surface level control features.
(3) If the department determines that there may be sufficient water in the lake or reservoir to allow use of water for single-family residential noncommercial garden and landscape irrigation, it shall hold one or more public hearings in the area affected by the proposal. At the public hearing, the department shall report on the factors described in subsection (2) of this section, any additional factors it has used to evaluate the proposal, and options for use of the available water that will satisfy requirements for efficiency.
(4) After reviewing comments received at the public hearing, the department shall make a final determination whether there is sufficient water available for single-family residential noncommercial garden and landscape irrigation purposes. If the department determines there is sufficient water it shall, by rule:
(a) Establish the maximum quantity of water that may be withdrawn from the lake or reservoir on a yearly basis for single-family noncommercial garden and landscape irrigation under this section;
(b) Establish conditions and limitations on withdrawal by individual property owners. The conditions and limitations may include, but are not limited to: Time of day and year, maximum area that may be watered, maximum flow and annual water usage allowed, protection for existing water right holders who may be affected by the withdrawal, and conservation and efficiency measures to be used. In adopting the terms and conditions, the department shall encourage water use efficiency and conservation; and
(c) Establish screening requirements to protect fish life.
(5) A person withdrawing water under a rule adopted under subsection (4) of this section may, but shall not be required to, apply for a water right permit as otherwise provided by this chapter. The right to withdraw water under this section shall have a priority date of the effective date of the rule adopted pursuant to this section.
(6) The department may suspend temporarily the authority to withdraw water granted under this section if the department determines:
(a) Under chapter 43.83B RCW that drought conditions exist in the geographical area including a lake or reservoir for which the department has established water withdrawal standards under subsection (4) of this section; or
(b) By rule that continued withdrawal of water under this section will have an adverse impact on flows or lake levels below essential minimums necessary to assure the maintenance of existing water rights, fisheries requirements, or to protect federal or state interests including, but not limited to, power generation, navigation, and shoreline facilities.
(7) The department may temporarily suspend or impose conditions on the withdrawal of water authorized under this section if there is a water shortage in the geographical area including the lake or reservoir and a public water system with a water right affected by the withdrawal authorized under this section has imposed use restrictions and has requested similar restrictions for water withdrawn under this section.
(8) The department shall conduct the analysis required by subsection (1) of this section and, if it determines water is available, adopt the rule required by subsection (4) of this section not later than June 1, 1998.
(9) If requested by a public water system that may be affected by the withdrawal of water authorized under subsection (4) of this section, the department shall notify the system of use restrictions that the department has established and shall consult with the system on methods to enforce the restrictions imposed under subsection (4) of this section.
(10) Any person withdrawing water under the provisions of this section who uses an irrigation system that has connections to both the supply from the lake or reservoir and a potable drinking water supply system shall assure that the irrigation system complies with all health, safety, and building code requirements.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) If water is appropriated as authorized in chapter . . ., Laws of 1997 (this act), the department of ecology shall evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of allowing similar appropriations in other urban lakes and reservoirs and report its findings to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature by June 1, 2000.
(2) This section expires June 30, 2000.
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