(1) In 2006, the legislature enacted chapter 6, Laws of 2006, an act relating to water resource management in the Columbia river basin. In its enactment, the legislature established that a key priority of water resource management in the Columbia river basin is the development of new water supplies to meet economic and community development needs concurrent with instream flow needs.
(2) Consistent with this intent, the governor and the legislature are in agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Spokane Tribe of Indians to support additional releases of water from Lake Roosevelt. Because the sovereign and proprietary interests of these tribal governments are directly affected by water levels in Lake Roosevelt, the state intends to share a portion of the benefits derived from Lake Roosevelt water releases and to mitigate for any impacts such releases may have upon the tribes.
(3) These new releases of Lake Roosevelt water of approximately eighty-two thousand five hundred acre feet of water, increasing to no more than one hundred thirty-two thousand five hundred acre feet of water in drought years, will bolster the state economy and will meet the following critical needs: New surface water supplies for farmers to replace the use of diminishing groundwater in the Odessa aquifer; new water supplies for municipalities with pending water right applications; enhanced certainty for agricultural water users with water rights that are interruptible during times of drought; and water to increase flows in the river when salmon need it most.
(4) Nothing in chapter 82, Laws of 2008 expands, impairs, or otherwise affects the existing status and sovereignty of the tribal governments involved in Lake Roosevelt water releases pursuant to this section and RCW 90.90.070