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Washington Water Watch – Summer 2023


Summer is in full swing, and thankfully we are being spared from the excessive heat plaguing most of the world right now. But because of the unusually dry spring we had most of the state is excessively dry, and just this week the Department of Ecology declared a drought for watersheds in 12 counties. All the snowpack we accumulated over the winter has melted, and most of our rivers are running below normal levels resulting in higher-than-normal temperatures. This is bad news for fish.

Climate change is making warm, dry summers more common in the state, and increasing the frequency and severity of droughts. Our current water management system is not prepared to handle these changes, and water users are not equally impacted. Those with earlier water rights face less curtailment of their water use, and those with junior water rights, like the instream flows, face impacts that harm fish and wildlife, small farmers, and some drinking water for residents. As the frequency of droughts in Washington state accelerates more need to be done to manage water to protect instream flows and fish and make the impacts from the curtailment of water felt equally by all out-of-stream users.

That’s where CELP comes in, we are fighting to make Washington’s water management system more sustainable and equitable. But we can’t do it alone, with support from donors like you we will work to protect and restore our rivers, modernize Washington’s water policies, and educate Washingtonians about water conservation.

On a sad note, we lost one of CELP’s founding advisors in June. Charles Wilkinson specialized in natural resources and Indian law. He will be missed by us all. Read more about him here.

Trish Rolfe, Executive Director

Buy Your Tickets NOW for Celebrate Waters, 2023!

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 5:00-7:30 pm

Presenting this year’s Ralph Johnson Water Hero Award to Carla Carson, Muckleshoot Analyst/Hydrologist (retired)

and welcoming special guest speaker, John Echohawk, Executive Director Native American Rights Fund

Tickets are $65 and available here — use code EarlyBird for $10 off until August 25!

CELEBRATE WATERS SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE NOW – please email for more information.

Drought Declared

Early snowmelt, a lack of spring rain, and low streamflows have prompted Ecology to declare a drought emergency for parts of 12 counties.

Read more.

New Status and Protections Considered for Four Water Bodies

In what would be a first for Washington state, the Department of Ecology is proposing to classify four water bodies as “Outstanding Resource Waters” – a special designation under the federal Clean Water Act that carries extra water quality protections and recognition.

Public comments are accepted through September 27, 2023

Read more here.


The American Water Resource Association Washington State Annual Conference is happening again! The AWRA Washington State conference returns on September 28, 2023, at the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center.We are one of several regional sponsors and look forward to hearing more from our colleagues.Interested? You are welcome to attend! More information coming soon.

CELP Honorary Board Member and Tribal Advocate, Charles Wilkinson, dies at 81.

Wilkinson leaves a legacy of advocacy and education on behalf of tribes and protecting the lands and waters of the West.CELP sends our condolences to his family and those who knew and worked with him.

Read more here.

CELP welcomes our newest board member, Claire Newman!

Claire is a graduate of the UW School of Law and her expertise lies in fundamental issues of indigenous sovereignty, including the exercising of treaty hunting and fishing rights; federal reserved water rights; alleged waivers of sovereign immunity; tribal governments’ exercise of regulatory and adjudicatory jurisdiction, and the applicability and constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

We rely on our membership to supply funds to help us act decisively and to provide strength to our voice as we work with agencies, government bodies and leadership to create better water management policies.

Please consider joining us as a member today

Washington Water Watch
1. Washington Water WatchMarch 2015
2. Washington Water Watch April 2015
3. Washington Water Watch May 016
4. Washington Water Watch July 2015
5. Washington Water Watch August 2015
6. Washington Water Watch September 2015
7. Water Watch Issue November/December
8. Washington Water Watch January/February 2016
9. Washington Water Watch March 2016
10. Washington Water Watch April 2016
11. Washington Water Watch May 2016
12. Washington Water Watch June 2016
13. Washington Water Watch July 2016
14. Washington Water Watch: August 2016
15. Washington Water Watch: October 2016
16. Washington Water Watch: December 2017
17. Washington Water Watch January 2017
18. Washington Water Watch: February 2017
19. Washington Water Watch: March 2017
20. Washington Water Watch: April 2017
21. Washington Water Watch: May 2017
22. Washington Water Watch: July & August 2017
23. Washington Water Watch: November 2018
24. Washington Water Watch: April 2019
25. Washington Water Watch: May 2019
26. Washington Water Watch: September 2019
27. Washington Water Watch: November 2019
28. Washington Water Watch: January 2020
29. Washington Water Watch: February 2020
30. Washington Water Watch: March/April 2020
31. Washington Water Watch: June 2020
32. Washington Water Watch: August 2020
33. Washington Water Watch: November Edition
34. Washington Water Watch: Jan. & Feb. 2021
35. Washington Water Watch: March 2021
36. Washington Water Watch: Summer 2021
37. Washington Water Watch: September 2021
38. Washington Water Watch: December 2022
39. Washington Water Watch Archives
40. Washington Water Watch May 2023
41. Washington Water Watch – Summer 2023
42. CELP Staff Join Northwest Tribes at R.U.N.
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