Water Right Concerns
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
During a recent House Natural Resources Subcommittee Water and Power oversight hearing on “New Federal Schemes to Soak Up Water Authority: Impacts on States, Water Users, Recreation, and Jobs” Larry Martin, Yakima resident and representative for the National Water Resources Association, testified about concerns over the possible impact the Forest Service’s recently proposed Groundwater Resource Management Directive could have on the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan.
MARTIN: This directive was developed without any meaningful outreach to water users, many of which have existing water systems on forest service lands. The directive would place additional permitting requirements on water infrastructure and will make meeting current and future needs and responding to climate variability more difficult and expensive. We are also concerned that the forest service will attempt to tie permit approval to the modification of a state issued water right and has the real risk of jeopardizing the integrated plan in the Yakima Basin.
Martin also pointed out that the proposals on the Definition of the Waters of the U.S. and Management of U.S. Forest Service Groundwater are only two of the pending rules that water users are faced with.
MARTIN: Water users are also struggling to review and comprehend Forest Service directives on BMP’s (Best Management Practices) and ski area water rights and three other draft rules and policies related to the Endangered Species Act. All of these proposals have the potential to seriously impact water users. These are not easy reads, they are highly technical documents that cite numerous studies.
For more information on the NWRA and its mission visit www.nwra.org.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.