90.54.005  <<  90.54.010 >>   90.54.020

RCW 90.54.010

Purpose.

(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) Proper utilization of the water resources of this state is necessary to the promotion of public health and the economic well-being of the state and the preservation of its natural resources and aesthetic values. Although water is a renewable resource, its supply and availability are becoming increasingly limited, particularly during summer and fall months and dry years when demand is greatest. Growth and prosperity have significantly increased the competition for this limited resource. Adequate water supplies are essential to meet the needs of the state's growing population and economy. At the same time instream resources and values must be preserved and protected so that future generations can continue to enjoy them.
(b) All citizens of Washington share an interest in the proper stewardship of our invaluable water resources. To ensure that available water supplies are managed to best meet both instream and offstream needs, a comprehensive planning process is essential. The people of the state have the unique opportunity to work together to plan and manage our water. Through a comprehensive planning process that includes the state, Indian tribes, local governments, and interested parties, it is possible to make better use of available water supplies and achieve better management of water resources. Through comprehensive planning, conflicts among water users and interests can be reduced or resolved. It is in the best interests of the state that comprehensive water resource planning be given a high priority so that water resources and associated values can be utilized and enjoyed today and protected for tomorrow.
(c) Diverse hydrologic, climatic, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions exist throughout the regions of the state. Water resource issues vary significantly across regions. Comprehensive water resource planning is best accomplished through a regional planning process sensitive to the unique characteristics and issues of each region.
(d) Comprehensive water resource planning must provide interested parties adequate opportunity to participate. Water resource issues are best addressed through cooperation and coordination among the state, Indian tribes, local governments, and interested parties.
(e) The long-term needs of the state require ongoing assessment of water availability, use, and demand. A thorough inventory of available resources is essential to water resource management. Current state water resource data and data management is inadequate to meet changing needs and respond to competing water demands. Therefore, a state water resource data program is needed to support an effective water resource management program. Efforts should be made to coordinate and consolidate into one resource data system all relevant information developed by the department of ecology and other agencies relating to the use, protection, and management of the state's water resources.
(2) It is the purpose of this chapter to set forth fundamentals of water resource policy for the state to insure that waters of the state are protected and fully utilized for the greatest benefit to the people of the state of Washington and, in relation thereto, to provide direction to the department of ecology, other state agencies and officials, and local government in carrying out water and related resources programs. It is the intent of the legislature to work closely with the executive branch, Indian tribes, local government, and interested parties to ensure that water resources of the state are wisely managed.
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