Calling on the Washington State Governor and Legislature to Reform Water Rights for New Industrial and Commercial Users

Res #:Committee:Submitted by:Title:                                 Pass →YesNoAmended/TabledTo NCAI
2020-14Natural Resources/LandsTaylor AalvikCalling on the Washington State Governor and Legislature to Reform Water Rights for New Industrial and Commercial Users



 2020 Winter Convention 

Portland, Oregon 

RESOLUTION #2020 – 14 

“CALLING ON THE WASHINGTON STATE GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE TO REFORM WATER RIGHTS FOR NEW INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL USERS” 

PREAMBLE 

We, the members of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants rights secured under Indian Treaties, Executive Orders, and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and constitution of the United States and several states, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise to promote the welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution: 

WHEREAS, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) are representatives of and advocates for national, regional, and specific tribal concerns; and 

WHEREAS, ATNI is a regional organization comprised of American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and tribes in the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Northern California, and Alaska; and 

WHEREAS, the health, safety, welfare, education, economic and employment opportunity, and preservation of cultural and natural resources are primary goals and objectives of the ATNI; and 

WHEREAS, 90.44 Revised Code of Washington (RCW) describes the State of Washington’s process for the management of public groundwater; and 

WHEREAS, Washington State provides for a permitting process for industrial or commercial purposes exceeding a specific use or quantity; and

WHEREAS, the State of Washington does not charge a market-rate fee to obtain public groundwater; and 

WHEREAS, the State of Washington Senate passed SB 6091 in January 2018; and 

WHEREAS, SB 6091 requires a $500 fee on wells and, in some places will limit withdrawals to an annual average of 950 gallons a day, as well as private well meters in some communities; and 

WHEREAS, although SB 6091 represents a step forward for Washington water conservation, it does not address significant water withdrawals by industrial and commercial interests; and 

WHEREAS, SB 6091 established RCW 90.44, “Streamflow Restoration,” which establishes methods for restoring streamflow in watersheds where water scarcity is a concern; and 

WHEREAS, water ‘buy-backs’ have been occurring at a rate which establishes that there is a market and a value for public water resources; and 

WHEREAS, the State of Washington does not establish a value or charge private commercial or industrial water developers a market rate for their withdrawals; now 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that ATNI does hereby call upon the Washington State Governor and the Washington State Legislature to reform water rights for new industrial and commercial water users; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that ATNI calls upon the Washington State Governor and the Washington State Legislature to value public water resources appropriately to market rates; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that ATNI requests the Washington State Governor and the Washington State Legislature to cease the practice of giving away public resources to private companies while charging private citizens for water use. 

CERTIFICATION 

The foregoing resolution was adopted at the 2020 Winter Convention of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Portland, Oregon, on January 27-30, 2020, with a quorum present. 

______________________________ ______________________________ 

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