WASHINGTON AG NETWORK – GLENN VAAGEN – On Tuesday, the Benton/Franklin County Superior Court reversed a decision by the Washington Department of Ecology denying a water right transfer proposed by Loyal Pig LLC. This week’s reversal order not only reinstates the water right transfer previously approved by the Franklin County Water Conservancy Board, but it also prevents Ecology from usurping water law provisions protecting the water right from relinquishment.
Joining Loyal Pig in defending the water right, the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association stressed that perhaps the most important piece of the state water code, the five-year period for relinquishment protection, was being corrupted by Ecology.
CSRIA Board Representative Darryll Olsen called Ecology’s actions “a profound display of poor judgement, at all technical, legal, and managerial levels. This legal fight should never have happened, and Ecology spurned attempts by CSRIA to engage in reasoned discussion with the Water Resources Program leadership.”
Olsen added “that the Water Resources Program should never be attempting to use the water right change/transfer statutes as a vehicle to relinquish (take away) water rights. It totally defeats the purpose of water right transfers, water conservation actions, and water marketing.”
CSRIA views the Water Resources Program’s “defensive posture” toward the County Water Conservancy Boards (RCW 90.80) as a growing problem, coupled with internal managerial/supervision issues affecting the Program.