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Washington Water Watch April 2024

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CELP has made it a priority to make Washington’s water resource policies more equitable and more sustainable in light of the impacts from climate change, and we will continue working with our partners to do. But we can’t do it alone. This week UW’s Climate Impacts group released their 2023 Water Year Assessment, it lays out a bleak water future due to the impacts of Climate Change, but a lot can be done to mitigate these impacts. That work will be CELP’s priority in the coming years, and hopefully we can partner with all of you to make sure we have enough water for all.

Earth Day is April 22nd this year, and this year, let’s all work to restore and protect our rivers, streams, and waterways for now and for future generations. CELP is the only statewide organization that works full-time to protect and restore Washington’s waters, and we rely on donations from our supporters to continue this important work.

We hope you’ll consider making a gift today, or if your membership to CELP has lapsed, please renew it! We’ve made it easy for you at

2024 Legislative Wrap-Up

We are a small organization, but we made a huge impact this legislative session! Thanks to the efforts of CELP Executive Director, Trish Rolfe and board members we defeated HB 2187, HB 2105, and most importantly, SB 5517 FOSTER and the DNR bill, SB 6062.

We defeated these bills bills because of their impact to streamflows and fish. Our website has more about each of these bills and why CELP opposed them.

AND…CELP wrote and submitted our first-ever budget proviso, asking for funding to enable the Department of Ecology to begin the creation of a unified database to facilitate smoother information gathering and sharing. The web map will provide agencies and the public with an interactive online mapping system focused on water resource data that enables users to access, visualize, and use improved water data. CELP intends this to be the first step toward a more comprehensive system that tracks streamflows, precipitation, water rights records, geospatial information, mitigation and water banks, and metering data.

Our proviso was added to the budget in a last-minute round of negotiations as exciting as any thriller. We look forward to working with Ecology as this important step in modernizing water law develops.

We want to extend our thanks to Rep. Joe Fitzgibbons, Rep. Timm Ormsby, Rep. Bruce Chandler, Sen. Derek Stanford, and Sen. June Robinson for their support and to our lobbyist, Dawn Vyvyvan, for her hard work!

You can read more about the budget proviso here.

The Pacific Northwest Water Year Assessment was released this week. This assessment is a collaborative study done by the Office of the Washington State Climatologist, the Climate Impacts Group, Oregon Climate Service, the Idaho Department of Water Resources, and NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), to document changes in precipitation, temperature, and snowpack in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The study showed that “50% or more of respondents across all sectors are changing their long-term operations in response to trends in seasonal conditions.” It also emphasized how much temperature changes impact our water supply. Future precipitation projections are less certain, but temperature projections are typically spot on. This will help plan for drought based on rising temperatures due to climate change rather than trying to predict snow or rainfall amounts.

You can read the complete study here and read the Seattle Times article assessing the report here.

50 Years After Boldt

A new book was released last month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Boldt decision. Treaty Justice, The Northwest Tribes, the Boldt Decision, and the Recognition of Fishing Rights was written by tribal lawyer, activist, and former CELP Board Member Charles Wilkinson. It’s a fascinating read about the front lines of this landmark case and its history. Order a copy from you favorite indie bookstore!

Earth Day, April 22, 2024

Water is the planet’s lifeblood and climate change is a crisis of diminishing water supplies around the world. It’s estimated that 75% of the earth’s population will be experiencing drought by 2050 —for some of us, that is in this lifetime.

CELP is encouraging individuals, agencies, and municipalities to be proactive in conserving water BEFORE we reach the drought stage. You can help us by making a gift today or renewing your membership in honor of our waters on Earth Day.

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