Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Ecology is a major water rights decision by the Washington Supreme Court that is impacting watershed planning, water rights permitting and development in rural areas. I have been practicing water rights law in Washington State since 1990. I have witnessed how the state’s water allocation policy has been misapplied by setting minimum instream flows before allocating water for other uses according to the maximum net benefits policy, and by falsely assuming that ground water would remain available for future municipal and domestic uses. The Swinomish decision demonstrates that the state’s implementation of legislative water allocation policy is broken and needs to be fixed. Please read my article, “How Messed Up is Washington’s Water Allocation System After Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Ecology? How False Assumptions and Failure to Balance Water Priorities Led to a Surprise Closure of the State’s Groundwater, Over-Reliance on OCPI and the Need for Legislative Reform.”
The article is also posted on my blog, www.tomswaterblog.wordpress.com. I will periodically post new developments relating to the Swinomish case on my blog and readers are invited to comment.