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Action Alert: We Oppose Senate Bills 5517 and 5622

Washington’s waters are a precious but finite resource.

Two senate bills scheduled for hearing on Monday have the potential to undo years of work in protecting salmon habitat and WA water rights.

SB 5517: This bill would allow growing cities to mitigate for new water use by doing habitat improvement elsewhere, while leaving the actual streams impacted by water use to potentially end up below minimum instream flows needed for salmon.

SB 5622: This bill concerns the transfer of “alternate water rights” for municipal water supply purposes. “Alternate” water rights are alternative for a reason. The way the bill is written allows water rights to transfer between watersheds and locations, with no oversight for mitigation. This will negatively impact senior water rights holders, as well as instream flows.

Allowing out-of-kind mitigation will lower water levels in rivers and streams when fish need them the most, greatly hampering multi million-dollar efforts by the state to restore wild salmon runs. And allowing impairment of instream flows would lead to curtailments of water rights holders. We need better solutions to address our state’s water rights issues.

These bills are scheduled for hearing on Monday, February 6th.

We need your help sending a strong message to state legislators.

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