WA state bills to oppose – ESSB 5200 and HB 1375 – Water exemptions

ESSB 5200, HB 1375: Concerning consolidating a new exempt withdrawal of groundwater into an existing public water system.

Concerns consolidating a new exempt withdrawal of up to 5000 gallons per day of groundwater into an existing public water system to serve a proposed new development with water that would otherwise be withdrawn for beneficial use under a permit exemption. Bill creates confusion when determining if water is “legally available” for increasing water in a municipal system’s water right. A standard for “legal availability” is important to preventing harm to instream flows and senior water rights.

I’m really unclear here of what is being asked by this bill. Analysis by those smarter than this reporter seems to point to a water giveaway, needing additional work to determine what really is available. Appears to be better to ask to kill this bill than find out we’ve allowed a large gaping hole to drive development through.

Perhaps Representative Van De Wege, who is on the House Ag and Natural Resources committee can explain why this should be supported.

To be clear, no action has been taken on this bill since late February, so my guess is that it’s dead.

But, oppose this bill.

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