Plans for a water rights adjudication affecting about 25,000 people in the Nooksack area continue moving forward with an anticipated filing in spring this year. As the date draws closer, we want to provide accurate information and clear up myths about who does or doesn’t need to participate, expenses associated with participation and universal metering requirements.
Join us for our third annual webinar January 31 at 5:30 p.m.
In previous years our subject matter experts have talked a lot about what an adjudication is, and why we need to do one in the Nooksack. This year, they’ll be getting into a little more detail about how to participate and what the process will look like. This webinar is a great opportunity to learn more about the process.
Anyone interested in learning more about the WRIA 1 Nooksack adjudication is welcome to attend. You will need to pre-register for the event.
What’s an adjudication and why are we doing one in the Nooksack?
Adjudication is a legal process that resolves conflict and competition on a water source. It reviews whether each water right on a source is legal, how much water can be used, and its priority during shortages. A watershed-wide adjudication, such as the upcoming Nooksack adjudication prioritizes each individual water right, including federal, tribal and instream flow rights, under Washington water law's “first-in-time, first-in-right” prior appropriation framework.
Adjudication is important to ensure water regulation is fair and everyone follows the same rules. In the Nooksack, there are longstanding uncertainties surrounding legal water use. Records do not reflect legal or actual use. Federal and tribal water rights are not quantified. Attempts to resolve water disputes collaboratively, over many years, have not led to a solution.
Until water uses are adjudicated, uncertainty about the future will continue to grow. Instead of addressing individual challenges to each permit and rule decisions as they arise over the years, an adjudication results in a comprehensive decree and final determination. Read more frequently asked questions in Focus on: Potential Adjudication in Nooksack Basin.
Where else can I learn about the Nooksack adjudication?
For those unable to attend we will post a recording of the event to our website. While we certainly hope to see as many people as possible at the webinar, it won’t be the only opportunity to ask question. We have a dedicated mailbox and phone number for those with questions and concerns about the process. Mail questions to WRAdjudications@ecy.wa.gov or call360-255-4406. You can also sign up for our adjudication mailing list.