An event of the Ag and Rural Caucus of the State Democratic Central Committee
Water Rights Adjudication: Theory, Yakima Experience, and the Nooksack Anticipation
Mary Verner, Department of Ecology: Theory
Tom Ring, veteran of Yakima adjudication: Experience
William Clarke, Whatcom County, Ag Water Board: Anticipation
Water Rights: The FundamentalsLet’s start at the beginning. Who has rights to use public waters and how did they get them? This is the business of water right adjudication. And the Department of Ecology, working for the state, is boss. Except that the state is a latecomer to claiming jurisdiction, about a hundred years. And except that only the courts can really adjudicate water rights.
Confused? Aside from one-on-one adjudications, there has been only one general basin adjudication, the Yakima. It took forty years. It wrapped up in2019. It is known by its court title: Ecology v Acquella.
Next up is the Nooksack (WRIA-01). Are landowners in Whatcom County looking forward to forty years of litigation?
Our meeting on 23 June takes up water right adjudication, the experience in the Yakima basin, and the anticipations in the Nooksack.