House adopts Yakima Basin water management plan

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House adopts Yakima Basin water management plan

CONTACT: Sarah Stewart, Public Information Officer – (360) 786-7720

House adopts Yakima Basin water management plan

 

Today the House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 5367 to adopt the Yakima Basin integrated water management plan.

Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, sponsor of the House companion measure, said he was pleased to see the bill move forward.

The Yakima Basin water management plan legislation passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee at the end of February this year, but did not move forward in the Capital Budget Committee. Chandler had confidence the agreed-upon water management plan would be funded as part of the capital budget. The details of that budget are currently being worked out.

“It has taken our region and really the entire state a long time to coalesce around an agreed-upon strategy for managing our water in the Yakima Basin. Moving this legislation forward is essential for our state. It would not have been possible without the commitment of the people of Central Washington,” Chandler said. “Washington has less water storage capacity than other Western states. More effective water management will better prepare our state for a serious drought.”

The Senate amended the bill to:

  • require half of the costs of the projects to come from non-state sources;
  • require a cost-benefit analysis by the Washington Water Resource Center for any components costing more than $100 million;
  • cause land purchases to be held in the community forest trust;
  • require the Department of Natural Resources to develop a transitional plan for managing land with the Department of Fish and Wildlife;
  • require land not remaining in the community forest trust to be placed in the common school trust; and,
  • make the land subject to payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) and exempt from compensating tax provisions.

“These amendments are part of a broad agreement for the Legislature to pass the legislation and include funding in the capital budget,” Chandler said.

The Yakima Basin plan has broad, bipartisan support and consensus with a diverse set of interest groups and local governments.

“This bill is just the beginning of this project; the real work lies ahead,” Chandler said. “Today's action recognizes the importance of a comprehensive strategy to water management so we have adequate storage for generations to come.”

The Legislature is working to complete the second special session this weekend after the 2013-15 operating and capital budgets are adopted. Funding in the capital budget is still being finalized and those involved with the project are requesting funding from the federal government as well.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov