SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5910





                        57th Legislature

                      2001 Regular Session

Passed by the Senate April 18, 2001

  YEAS 42   NAYS 0




President of the Senate


Passed by the House April 12, 2001

  YEAS 94   NAYS 0



I, Tony M. Cook, Secretary of the Senate of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is  SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5910 as passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on the dates hereon set forth.




Speaker of the

      House of Representatives






Speaker of the

      House of Representatives



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





Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                    SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5910



                      AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE


             Passed Legislature - 2001 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Water (originally sponsored by Senators Fraser and Honeyford)



Regarding temporary nonuse of a water right.  

    AN ACT Relating to temporary nonuse of water by the owner of a water right; amending RCW 90.14.140; and declaring an emergency.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 90.14.140 and 1998 c 258 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) For the purposes of RCW 90.14.130 through 90.14.180, "sufficient cause" shall be defined as the nonuse of all or a portion of the water by the owner of a water right for a period of five or more consecutive years where such nonuse occurs as a result of:

    (a) Drought, or other unavailability of water;

    (b) Active service in the armed forces of the United States during military crisis;

    (c) Nonvoluntary service in the armed forces of the United States;

    (d) The operation of legal proceedings;

    (e) Federal or state agency leases of or options to purchase lands or water rights which preclude or reduce the use of the right by the owner of the water right;

    (f) Federal laws imposing land or water use restrictions either directly or through the voluntary enrollment of a landowner in a federal program implementing those laws, or acreage limitations, or production quotas;

    (g) Temporarily reduced water need for irrigation use where such reduction is due to varying weather conditions, including but not limited to precipitation and temperature, that warranted the reduction in water use, so long as the water user's diversion and delivery facilities are maintained in good operating condition consistent with beneficial use of the full amount of the water right;

    (h) Temporarily reduced diversions or withdrawals of irrigation water directly resulting from the provisions of a contract or similar agreement in which a supplier of electricity buys back electricity from the water right holder and the electricity is needed for the diversion or withdrawal or for the use of the water diverted or withdrawn for irrigation purposes;

    (i) Water conservation measures implemented under the Yakima river basin water enhancement project, so long as the conserved water is reallocated in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 103-434;

    (j) Reliance by an irrigation water user on the transitory presence of return flows in lieu of diversion or withdrawal of water from the primary source of supply, if such return flows are measured or reliably estimated using a scientific methodology generally accepted as reliable within the scientific community; or

    (k) The reduced use of irrigation water resulting from crop rotation.  For purposes of this subsection, crop rotation means the temporary change in the type of crops grown resulting from the exercise of generally recognized sound farming practices.  Unused water resulting from crop rotation will not be relinquished if the remaining portion of the water continues to be beneficially used.

    (2) Notwithstanding any other provisions of RCW 90.14.130 through 90.14.180, there shall be no relinquishment of any water right:

    (a) If such right is claimed for power development purposes under chapter 90.16 RCW and annual license fees are paid in accordance with chapter 90.16 RCW;

    (b) If such right is used for a standby or reserve water supply to be used in time of drought or other low flow period so long as withdrawal or diversion facilities are maintained in good operating condition for the use of such reserve or standby water supply;

    (c) If such right is claimed for a determined future development to take place either within fifteen years of July 1, 1967, or the most recent beneficial use of the water right, whichever date is later;

    (d) If such right is claimed for municipal water supply purposes under chapter 90.03 RCW;

    (e) If such waters are not subject to appropriation under the applicable provisions of RCW 90.40.030; or

    (f) If such right or portion of the right is leased to another person for use on land other than the land to which the right is appurtenant as long as the lessee makes beneficial use of the right in accordance with this chapter and a transfer or change of the right has been approved by the department in accordance with RCW 90.03.380, 90.03.383, 90.03.390, or 90.44.100.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.


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