Water Right Evaluation Deadline

Water Right Evaluation Deadline

Low water years in the Yakima Basin can have major consequences resulting in water shortages for landowners and irrigators. For this reason, many people are looking to drill new wells to access ground water. Earlier this year the Washington Department of Ecology put out notice that it would be processing water rights in the Moxee and Wide Hollow basins due to new study information of the Yakima River Basin by the USGS showing that surface water and ground water are connected - influencing each other at different times of the year. The DOE asked applicants to indicate how they’d like their request for water to be considered. DOE’s Joye Redfield-Wilder talks about applicant response thus far.

REDFIELD-WILDER: We’ve received a good response, about half of responses from the potential people asking for water. But we want to let people know that August 17 is coming up and that’s when we want them to send back their postcards or contact us if they have questions on their application for new ground water in these two basins.

The agency is asking applicants to consider numerous options. Redfield-Wilder explains.

REDFIELD-WILDER: There may be areas where the aquifers can’t support new withdrawals, or there may be areas where we could allow new wells to go in, if we can offset that or mitigate it. And one way to do that is to obtain coverage under an existing senior water right.

In some areas new uses may be approved if applicants receive coverage under an existing senior water right to offset expected impact of new withdrawal on the river and other senior users. The DOE is working with local governments and other senior water users on having water banks available in the future where people could potentially go to obtain a senior water right.

*For more information visit the Department of Ecology website.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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