Brady Johnson is the son of CELP founder Ralph W. Johnson and has been a life-long supporter of a rational water policy. Professionally Brady is retired from a long career litigating a wide variety of cases including criminal defense, civil rights, mental health and civil commitment, torts, class actions and for the last 15 years of his career, antitrust and consumer protection. Brady has appeared before trial and appellate courts in several states, and in federal trial and appellate courts in the 2nd, 3rd and 9th Circuits and in the U.S. Supreme Court. Brady holds a B.A. from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the University of Puget Sound School of Law. He also holds a Certificate in International Law from the McGeorge School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State Bar.
How did you first become aware of/involved with CELP?
My father and Rachael [Paschal Osborn] founded CELP and I have been aware of it and its mission from its earliest days.
What’s your first memory of being aware of water conservation, or conservation in general?
My father taught water law among other things at the University of Washington School of Law. Even before that he was a conscientious conservationist and he instilled those values in his children. I do not recall a time when I was not aware of the value of water conservation, and of conserving and protecting our natural resources.
What do you find most challenging about protecting water in Washington?
The regressive allocation system that on the one hand creates reasonable sounding rules, then defeats them by creating massive exemptions. A further challenge is to get the State to recognize this incredibly obvious inconsistency and to persuade the agencies and legislature to actually fix it.
If you could change one thing about CELP, what would it be?
More resources to pursue its mission.
What do you wish other people knew about CELP or water conservation generally?
A common belief appears to be that water is an infinitely renewable resource and thus, we don’t need to worry about it. I wish that people understood that this is a fallacy, and a very dangerous one because it leads to tremendous overuse and misallocation of the resource. Continuing this process over the long term will create numerous economic, social and political disruptions, all of which can be avoided if we act appropriately now.
What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about water conservation?
That water conservation and effective management of this vital but limited resource is one of the most pressing issues of our day and will become more urgent in the coming years. I believe that the more that we can do now, the less pain our descendants will have to suffer as a result.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming involved with CELP?
I tell people that they should be thinking about becoming involved with CELP and that an easy way is to send a check, even a small one, each year.
If you weren’t volunteering on the CELP board, what would you be doing instead?
The same things I’m doing now, learning a new language, studying computer programming, going for walks and enjoying a pleasant retirement.
As a long-term supporter, what sorts of trends do you see in WA water conservation?
I don’t mean to be snarky, but I see a trend toward dryness. We are misallocating and overusing our water resource. While water must serve fish, farmers and people, the current system does not adequately address the limitations on the resource nor appropriately prioritize the need. There is no indication that state agencies or the legislature are taking the matter up in any serious way. In fact, the current system appears to be entrenched. Because of this, the work of CELP is particularly important in educating state officials as well as the people of Washington about the realities of water scarcity and our terrible system of managing it.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CELP?
I study new and interesting things, visit with friends and family and generally enjoy life.