Water transfer study proposed in Senate budget

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February 24, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am pleased to share that the Senate’s operating budget proposal released earlier today includes a provision directing the Department of Ecology to study water transfers. The issue of water transfers – in particular out-of-basin transfers – is of significant interest to the Methow Valley due to the recent efforts by Crown Columbia to acquire Methow Valley water. The study provision would direct the Washington State Department of Ecology to convene a work group to study the state’s water trust, water banking, and the water transfer process, and calls for a report to the Legislature by December 1, 2020.

Out-of-basin water transfers have gained significant interest in recent months following articles published by the Methow Valley News and Seattle Times. Multiple bills were introduced this session, including efforts to prohibit out-of-basin transfers, but none advanced. I worked closely with Mary McCrea and Lorah Super to craft an amendment protecting the Methow Valley from out-of-basin transfers, but the bill we were looking to amend did not advance to a Senate vote.

Methow headwaters photo

I am thankful the Senate budget proposes to study the issue of water transfers. While I would have preferred to prohibit out-of-basin water transfers from the Methow Valley during the study period, hopefully the upcoming report to the Legislature will set the stage for a new state policy on water transfers next session.

Since last fall’s potential water transfer out of the Methow Valley, my office has heard numerous concerns from Methow Valley residents. This issue is something I have been discussing with locals since my listening tour last fall to Twisp, Winthrop, and Mazama. I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the Methow Valley constituents who have reached out to me on this issue, who have had various conversations with me since last fall, or who have assisted with development of the amendment language.

The Methow Valley is a special place, and it is my honor to represent the community as state senator. If you have any questions about this proposal, please contact my office.


Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District
E-mail: brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov 

Website: senatorbradhawkins.org

107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000