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Governor’s Fix Hirst bill dead on arrival?? You decide.
42nd District Representative Vince Buys Comment: “This is the language the Gov’s office we will be discussing tomorrow during the hearing. It keeps getting worse and worse…”
Following are highlights of the Governor’s Bill to be discussed in committee Dec 12th 2017.
Outline-Hirst Edit 12/7 DRAFT Highlights:
“Overall intent: It is the intent of the legislature to protect and restore healthy stream flows for instream resources, which will aid in recovery of depleted salmonid populations, support properly functioning ecosystems, and provide for the general welfare of the citizens of the state. The legislature also intends to ensure that a legal and reliable domestic water supply is available for its citizens, which is essential to support the vitality of our state, including rural communities.
- $200 M planning and implementation program established to restore and enhance streamflows.
- Ecology establishes watershed restoration and enhancement committees for all water resource inventory areas (WRIAs) in which instream flow rules were adopted prior to the year 2000. Ecology invites WDFW, counties, and Tribes and chairs the committee.
- GMA: “must be consistent with and may rely on” instream flows.
- In WRIAs with pre-2000 instream flow rules, permit-exempt wells are authorized for indoor commercial and domestic use (maximum 350 gpd with a fee of $1,500) through compliance with the program. Other WRIAs with instream flow rules must follow the standards for permit exempt well requirements.
- In WRIAs without instream flow rules only proof of physical water availability is required. Every 4 years, Ecology must initiate rule-making in one priority WRIA that does not have an instream flow rule.
- Areas of the state which have state or federal adjudications, the Yakima (WRIAs 37,38 and 39) and Skagit (WRIA 3 and 4) are exempted.
- Ecology must report to the legislature by December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2027.
- A pilot metering project is created in one priority watershed.
- A task force is created to assess the Foster decision.
Plans: An restoration and enhancement plan must be adopted by June 30, 2023 in WRIAs with pre-2000 instream flow rules. Plans can only be adopted after approval by all entities participating. If a plan is not approved by June 2023, the draft plan is submitted to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. The board provides technical review and gives recommendations to the director of Ecology who then finalizes the plan. After plan adoption, the director must initiate rule-making within six months to incorporate plan recommendations into rules, and adopt amended rules within two years of initiation.
- Plan recommendations may include: acquiring senior water rights, water conservation, water reuse, stream gaging, groundwater monitoring, and developing natural and constructed infrastructure, which includes such projects as surface water impoundment, floodplain restoration, off-channel storage, and aquifer Also, plans can include projects that improve watershed functions and instream resources without specifically replacing the consumptive quantity from projected future water users.
- Ecology is authorized to amend rules to incorporate plan recommendations.
- Plans must, at a minimum, offset potential impacts to instream flows associated with permit-exempt domestic and commercial water use.
- Ecology must make a determination that actions identified in the plan, after accounting for new projected uses of water over the subsequent twenty years, will result in a net ecological benefit to instream resources within the water resource inventory area.
- Plans must prioritize projects that replace the total annual consumptive quantity of water and as close to the area of impact as possible. Projects may also be those that improve instream resources without replacing the consumptive quantity of water.
- Plans must include estimates for consumptive impacts from new permit exempt wells. Plans may include recommendations for appropriate fees, specific conservation requirements or water use limitations for a WRIA or portion of a WRIA.
- Unless rules have been revised, new permit exempt uses are limited to single domestic or commercial indoor use, limited to 350 gallons per day. Applicants must manage stormwater onsite and pay a $1,500 fee.
- Record relevant water supply restrictions with property titles.
- Collect applicable fees.
- Keep account of the number of building permits and subdivision approvals.
- Remit fees and permit accounting to Ecology.”
The hearing is being held in Olympia… Dec 12th 2017
The Fourth Corner will be there to cover this important issue.