Important Fundraiser Barbeque planned to Protect Water Rights - DOE charges "pollution" violation for diverting water to irrigation

August 15, 2002
Okanogan County, WA

Okanogan County Farm Bureau, Methow Valley Irrigation District and Washington Agriculture Legal Foundation have joined together to host a fundraiser barbeque to strongly oppose a new tactic by the Washington State Department of Ecology to restrict legal water rights.

The Department of Ecology issued the Methow Valley Irrigation District a Notice of Violation Order in April that disregarded historic water rights and ordered the District to reduce the amount of water diverted. The Violation Order was based on a bizarre claim that water diversion equals “pollution.” MVID has appealed the Order.

“If Ecology’s outrageous concept is not challenged, all water use in this state, including wells, is at risk,” said Joel Kretz, Okanogan County Farm Bureau President. “They’re after your water folks.”

A legal analysis prepared by the law firm of Perkins Coie identifies several strong challenges to this unprecedented interpretation of the law and notes that regulating water rights to achieve water quality standards could jeopardize thousands of water rights across the state.

A barbeque is planned to help raise funds for a legal defense in the District’s struggle to protect water rights. Join us on Saturday, August 24th at 3:00 PM at the Twisp City Park in Twisp, WA for guest speakers, great food, entertainment and fun. Learn how all water users in the state would be impacted if Ecology is not challenged. Don’t miss this opportunity to stand up and be counted--together we can make a difference.

Washington Agriculture Legal Foundation has created a Legal Defense Fund with a special account to accept contributions on behalf of the irrigators. Donations may be sent to WALF, c/o Washington Farm Bureau, P.O. Box 2009, Olympia, WA 98507.

Contact Darlene Hajny, Public Relations/Information at (509) 422-4703 or Joel Kretz, President at (509) 779-4105 for further information.

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