Locke's water bills would create watershed or regional 'water banks', simply process of transferring water rights to state trust, and fund watershed planning units
OLYMPIA - Gov. Gary Locke announced new water legislation Thursday, saying it will help secure long-term water supplies while protecting the environment.
The bills would give municipal water suppliers incentives to conserve water and help utilities make changes to their existing water rights, among other things.
"I believe that Washington has enough water to meet all of our needs, we just need to continue to manage it better," Locke said.
The governor's bills are more focused on cities' water rights than in years past.
"The people in the Pacific Northwest know that water is one of our shining examples of why people come to live here," said Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, who also pledged to collaborate with the governor. "They want the recreation, they want their water to be plentiful and available and clean."
Two of Locke's bills address unresolved issues surrounding the management and use of water rights by municipal water suppliers.
Another bill would allow for the creation of watershed or regional water banks. It would also simplify the process of transferring a water right to a state trust.
The Department of Ecology has reduced its backlog of water transfers by more than one-third since a recent bill allowed the department to process requests for water rights changes ahead of requests for new water rights, Locke said.
The watershed planning bill would require detailed strategies
on how water-management plans will be implemented. In return, the
state would provide as much as $100,000 for each watershed planning
unit per year.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]