ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL NO. 5984


                                                            AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE


                                                                            C 429 L 89



State of Washington                               51st Legislature                              1989 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on Agriculture (originally sponsored by Senators Newhouse and Barr)



Read first time 3/1/89.



AN ACT Relating to use of the waters of the Yakima river basin; and adding a new chapter to Title 90 RCW.




          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.     (1) The legislature finds that:

          (a) Under present physical conditions in the Yakima river basin there is an insufficient supply of water to satisfy the needs of the basin;

          (b) Pursuant to P.L. 96-162, which was urged for enactment by this state, the United States is now conducting a study of ways to provide needed waters through improvements of the federal water project presently existing in the Yakima river basin;

          (c) The interests of the state will be served by developing programs, in cooperation with the United States and the various water users in the basin, that increase the overall ability to manage basin waters in order to better satisfy both present and future needs for water in the Yakima river basin.

          (2) It is the purpose of this chapter, consistent with these findings, to improve the ability of the state to work with the United States and various water users of the Yakima river basin in a program designed to satisfy both existing rights, and other presently unmet as well as future needs of the basin.

          (3) The provisions of this chapter apply only to waters of the Yakima river basin.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.     Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

          (1) "Department" means the department of ecology.

          (2) "Net water savings" means the amount of water that through hydrological analysis is determined to be conserved and usable for other purposes without impairing existing water rights, reducing the ability to deliver water, or reducing the supply of water that otherwise would have been available to other water users.

          (3) "Trust water right" means that portion of an existing water right, constituting net water savings, that is no longer required to be diverted for beneficial use due to the installation of a water conservation project that improves an existing system.  The term "trust water right" also applies to any other water right acquired by the department under this chapter for management in the Yakima river basin trust water rights program.

          (4) "Water conservation project" means any project funded to further the purposes of this chapter and that achieves physical or operational improvements of efficiency in existing systems for diversion, conveyance, or application of water under existing water rights.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.     (1) The department may acquire water rights, including but not limited to storage rights, by purchase, gift, or other appropriate means other than by condemnation, from any person or entity or combination of persons or entities.  Once acquired, such rights are trust water rights.

          (2) The department may make such other arrangements, including entry into contracts with other persons or entities as appropriate to ensure that trust water rights acquired in accordance with this chapter can be exercised to the fullest possible extent.

          (3) The trust water rights may be acquired on a temporary or permanent basis.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.     (1) For the purposes of this chapter, the department is authorized to enter into contracts with water users for the purpose of providing moneys to users to assist in the financing of water conservation projects.  In exchange for the financial assistance provided for the purposes of this chapter, the water users shall convey the trust water rights, created as a result of the assistance, to the department of ecology.

          (2) No contract shall be entered into by the department with a water user under this chapter unless it appears to the department that, upon the completion of a water conservation project financed with moneys as provided in this section, a valid water right exists for conveyance to the department.

          (3) The department shall cooperate fully with the United States in the implementation of this chapter.  Trust water rights may be acquired through expenditure of funds provided by the United States and shall be treated in the same manner as trust water rights resulting from the expenditure of state funds.

          (4) When water is proposed to be acquired by or conveyed to the department as a trust water right by an irrigation district, evidence of the district's authority to represent the water right holders must be submitted to, and for the satisfaction of, the department.

          (5) The department shall not acquire an individual's water right under this chapter that is appurtenant to land lying within an irrigation district without the approval of the board of directors of the irrigation district.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.     (1) All trust water rights acquired by the department shall be placed in the Yakima river basin trust water rights program to be managed by the department.  The department shall issue a water right certificate in the name of the state of Washington for each trust water right it acquires.

          (2) Trust water rights shall retain the same priority date as the water right from which they originated.  Trust water rights may be modified as to purpose or place of use or point of diversion, including modification from a diversionary use to a nondiversionary instream use.

          (3) Trust water rights may be held by the department for instream flows and/or irrigation use.

          (4) A schedule of the amount of net water saved as a result of water conservation projects carried out in accordance with this chapter, shall be developed annually to reflect the predicted hydrologic and water supply conditions, as well as anticipated water demands, for the upcoming irrigation season.  This schedule shall serve as the basis for the distribution and management of trust water rights each year.

          (5) No exercise of a trust water right may be authorized unless the department first determines that no existing water rights, junior or senior in priority, will be impaired as to their exercise or injured in any manner whatever by such authorization.  Before any trust water right is exercised, the department shall publish notice thereof in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county or counties in which the storage, diversion, and use are to be made, and in such other newspapers as the department determines are necessary, once a week for two consecutive weeks.  At the same time the department may also send notice thereof containing pertinent information to the director of fisheries and the director of wildlife.

          (6) RCW 90.03.380 and 90.14.140 through 90.14.910 shall have no applicability to trust water rights held by the department under this chapter or exercised under this section.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.     The department may adopt rules as appropriate to ensure full implementation of this chapter.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7.     The policies and purposes of this chapter shall not be construed as replacing or amending the policies or the purposes for which funds available under chapter 43.83B or 43.99E RCW may be used within or without the Yakima river basin.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8.     It is not the intent of this chapter to facilitate the transfer of water rights from one irrigation district to another.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 9.     Nothing in this chapter shall authorize the impairment or operate to impair any existing water rights.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 10.    Sections 1 through 9 of this act shall constitute a new chapter in Title 90 RCW.