Friday, October 8, 2010

Final weekend to weigh in on your water future

By Dan Partridge, Communication Manager, Water Resources

This is the final weekend of the Water Smart Washington Online Forum. Your comments are helping us think “out of the box” on ways to better manage our water supplies now and in the future.

Over the past five weeks, we’ve asked questions on further funding for implementation of watershed plans in Washington state, reducing the reliance of the Water Resources Program on the state general fund (taxpayer funding) vs. fees that are paid by those who benefit from water management services, forecasting water supply needs in our state and asking the Legislature to give Ecology more authority to better regulate “permit-exempt” water wells in Washington that do not require water right permits.

Our final Question of the Week is based on Ecology’s recently released report to the Legislature and the governor on ways we can make our Water Resources Program more self-sustaining and less reliant on the State General Fund.
The final Forum question is seeking ideas on how the Water Resources Program can become more efficient and/or cost effective in delivering any or all of its ten statutorily required services:
  1. Clarifying water rights through court adjudication.
  2. Setting instream flows.
  3. Ensuring dam safety,
  4. Managing water rights.
  5. Preparing and responding to drought.
  6. Ensuring compliance with water laws.
  7. Providing water resources data and information.
  8. Regulating well construction.
  9. Working with local groups, tribes and other agencies to develop and implement watershed plans.
  10. Supporting water use efficiency.
From the “2010 Report to the Legislature and Governor: Water Resources Program Functions and Funding Structure,” the sixth and final question asks:
Based upon the information provided in Appendix A of the 2010 Report to the Legislature and Governor, how can Ecology’s Water Resources Program be more efficient and/or cost-effective in managing the water resources of Washington state to meet the present and future water needs of people and the natural environment?”

To participate in the forum go to Ecology’s home page and click on the Water Smart Washington logo. (10/13/10: the Forum is now closed for comments)

Comments on Question 6, which will be taken through Tuesday, Oct. 12, will be included in a future supplement to the report.

Ecology appreciates the comments and suggestions of those who have participated in the Online Forum. Archived comments on all of the forum questions will remain available on the forum Web page after Oct. 12. If you found the forum useful or have suggestions on how we can improve Ecology’s next online forum, please contact me at

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