BILL REQ. #:  H-1560.2 


State of Washington63rd Legislature2013 Regular Session

By House Agriculture & Natural Resources (originally sponsored by Representatives Buys, Blake, Chandler, Warnick, Schmick, and Fagan)

READ FIRST TIME 02/22/13.   

     AN ACT Relating to de facto changes in water rights for irrigation purposes that involved conversion to more efficient irrigation technologies; creating a new section; and providing an expiration date.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   (1) The department of ecology must initiate a process to enable water right holders to change the current status of water rights that are currently being put to a different place of use than is indicated on the associated water right certificate when that change was done prior to formal approval being granted by the department of ecology and only if the following conditions are met:
     (a) The water right is located in water resource inventory area 01 as identified in WAC 173-500-040 as it existed on the effective date of this section;
     (b) The water right holder has implemented a change from overhead irrigation technology to microirrigation technology prior to January 1, 2000;
     (c) The water right holder has beneficially used the water right for irrigation purposes using microirrigation technology since implementing the change;
     (d) After implementing the change, but before the effective date of this section, the water right holder filed a water right change application but has not yet received approval for that change from the department of ecology; and
     (e) The water right holder submits the following to the department of ecology:
     (i) Information indicating the nature and extent of the changes, including the date or dates on which the actual changes in water use occurred, water use before and after the changes, the points of diversion or withdrawal and place of use both before and after the changes, and any improvements in water use efficiency or reductions in direct impact on instream resources; and
     (ii) Payment for the appropriate fee under RCW 90.03.470(3).
     (2) The department may accept as evidence under this section crop receipts, seed receipts, harvest-related receipts, aerial and other photographs showing land in agricultural production or showing irrigation facilities, irrigation equipment receipts, metering records, or any other form of data acceptable to the department.
     (3)(a) If the department of ecology finds that the water right holder satisfies the requirements of this section, the department shall complete any analyses required by RCW 90.03.380 and amend the appropriate water right certificates to reflect the current place of use following the requirements of RCW 90.03.380 and the results of the analysis, except that the department shall use the time period prior to the implementation of the associated change to determine beneficial and consumptive use of the water right.
     (b) In updating the appropriate certificates, the department of ecology must reflect on the certificate the amount of water beneficially used by the applicant in the five years prior to the effective date of this section.
     (4) An applicant to participate in the process authorized by this section must, if requested by the department of ecology, utilize the coordinated cost-reimbursement process created under RCW 90.03.265.
     (5) This section expires June 30, 2016.

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