SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2874





                        57th Legislature

                      2002 Regular Session


Passed by the House March 11, 2002

  Yeas 96   Nays 0




Speaker of the House of Representatives







Passed by the Senate March 8, 2002

  Yeas 46   Nays 2



I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2874  as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                          Chief Clerk






President of the Senate




Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.               




Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                    SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2874



                     AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE


             Passed Legislature - 2002 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2002 Regular Session


By House Committee on Agriculture & Ecology (originally sponsored by Representatives Schoesler and Grant)


Read first time 02/08/2002.  Referred to Committee on .

Authorizing the department of ecology to enter into agreements to allocate Columbia basin project waters. 

    AN ACT Relating to agreements for allocation of ground waters that exist as a result of the Columbia basin project; adding new sections to chapter 89.12 RCW; and creating new sections.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that delivery of Columbia basin project water through canals and its application to land through irrigation over approximately the past fifty years has dramatically affected ground water in the Pasco basin, located in western Franklin county, along the Columbia river and north of the city of Pasco.  According to studies conducted by the United States geological survey, the volume of ground water has increased by about five million acre-feet.  About eighty-five percent of this increase is the result of percolation following irrigation and seepage from the distribution system.  Ground water levels have also risen as a result of reservoirs formed behind the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.  As a result of drainage management, the system is reported to be at equilibrium.  The studies provide the information needed to determine which ground water is a result of the project and which is naturally occurring.  Potential problems associated with the raised ground water levels include landslides and loss of arable land through ponding.  Benefits include dilution of concentrations of nitrate and increase in volume of water potentially available for beneficial use over the naturally occurring volume otherwise available.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  It is the intent of the legislature to grant authority to the department of ecology to enter into agreements with the United States for allocation of ground waters that exist as a result of the Columbia basin project, adopt rules for implementing the agreements and establishing priorities for processing applications, and accept funds for expenses incurred, consistent with applicable state and federal law.  Inasmuch as rules adopted by the department will be significant legislative rules, the legislature intends to assure that it will be able to properly carry out its responsibility to both give direction and review the rules after their adoption by requiring periodic reports by the department.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  A new section is added to chapter 89.12 RCW to read as follows:

    The department of ecology is authorized to enter into agreements with the United States for the allocation of ground waters that exist as a result of the Columbia basin project.  The agreements and any allocation of water pursuant to the agreements must be consistent with authorized project purposes, federal and state reclamation laws, including federal rate requirements, and provisions of United States' repayment contracts pertaining to the project.  The agreements must provide that the department grant an application to beneficially use such water only if the department determines that the application will not impair existing water rights or project operations or harm the public interest.  Use of water allocated pursuant to the terms of the agreements must be contingent upon issuance of licenses by the United States to approved applicants.  This section is not intended to alter or affect any ownership interest or rights in ground waters that are not allocated pursuant to the agreements.  Before implementing any such agreements, the department, with the concurrence of the United States, shall adopt a rule setting forth the procedures for implementing the agreements and the priorities for processing of applications.  The department is authorized to accept funds for administrative and staff expenses that it incurs in connection with entering into or implementing the agreements.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  A new section is added to chapter 89.12 RCW to read as follows:

    The department of ecology shall report annually to the standing committees of the legislature with jurisdiction over water resources regarding the activities authorized by section 3 of this act, beginning December 1, 2002, and ending December 1, 2007.


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