Friday, January 12, 2007

Ecology Director Hints at Change in Washington's Prior Appropriation Doctrine

According to an article by Andy Porter of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, a change in Washington's prior appropriation doctrine concerning relinquishment may be in the offing.
Manning said if local efforts continue to work, it could lead to a relaxation of the rules that say a water right holder may be forced to relinquish a right if the water isn't fully used. But, Manning warned, ``if we're going to solve the relinquishment issue, we've got to solve the in-stream flow issues.'' The problem is also not something Manning himself can change, Ecology spokeswoman Joye Redfield said today. ``The relinquishment law is a law and it has to be changed through the Legislature,'' she said.
However, given the proven ability of Gov. Gregoire and Director Manning to work with the legislature, this is a matter that bears watching. The issue came up last session during the negotiations that led to the Columbia River Water Management Act, but was sidestepped as a probably deal killer.