Fighting Climate Change & Its Effects
Water

Continue improving the state and local governmental programs empowered to protect the quality and quantity of our water including municipal water, groundwater, and in-stream flows.


Issue Team Chair: Martin Gibbins, mgibbins@lwvwa.org(425) 361-5007
DOWNLOAD the Water Issue Paper
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2020 Legislative Session Expectation 
(Interested in the 2019 Session Recap? Click Here)

As many communities across the nation have discovered, we must be vigilant in maintaining water purity and make sure our government representatives are applying due attention to addressing current challenges and preventing future ones. With increasing population and the effects of climate change, our supplies of fresh water are under stress. Abundant and pure water assures healthy people, safe recreation, healthy wildlife, and productive agriculture.

Our legislative goals for the 2020 session are to continue improving the quality and abundance of our state’s water including municipal water, ground water, and in-stream flows.  In this short legislative session hearings and votes are moving fast. This week the Legislature introduced several new bills and reintroduced several from 2019 of importance to water quality. The following review emphasizes the most significant bills currently in consideration. 

Click on Bill # for detailed information.  See UPDATES below.

Bills the League Supports

We expect the legislature to reconsider several bills not enacted last session including: 

  • HB 1860 Addressing lead in drinking water in schools. No amount of lead contamination is safe, especially for children, and our schools should have the purest water available.  UPDATE: This bill is now Scheduled for public hearing on January 21 in the House Committee on Education at 3:30 pm. If the representative for your district is on this committee, please send them a note expressing support for this bill. Click on their name and follow the links to their email address.
  • ESSB 5323 Reducing pollution from plastic bags. These sources of pollution may not represent a large problem for water quality, but they do degrade our water environment for recreation and wildlife. UPDATE: This bill nearly passed the Legislature in 2019 and in 2020 has passed the Senate chamber and is once again in the House Environment & Energy Committee for an as yet unscheduled hearing.
  • SB 6278 Water withdrawals for commercial bottled water production. This bill limits water extraction from a critical sources merely for the purpose of bottling for commercial consumption. UPDATE: A public hearing is scheduled in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks  on January 23 at 1:30 pm. If the senator for your district is on this committee, please send them a note expressing support for this bill. Click on their name and follow the links to their email address.

  • SB 6342  Chemical contaminants in drinking water. Requires the Department of Health to refine the upper limits for contaminates including PFAS, chromium, and dioxane in water systems and requires the water systems to monitor for these contaminates. UPDATE: This bill is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technologyon January 23 at 10:00 am. If the senator for your district is on this committee, please send them a note expressing support for this bill. Click on their name and follow the links to their email address.


Bills the League is Watching

  • SB 6036  Providing opportunities for drought mitigation using trust water rights. We have not yet determined the need for this bill or the effect of the language change in current law. We are working with water law specialists to determine the anticipated effect. It is currently scheduled for a public hearing on January 14 at 1:30 pm in the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee.
  • HB 1747  Risk-based water quality standards for on-site non-potable water systems. As we expand the use of reused water for non-human consumption (irrigation, flushing, etc. we must ensure pathogens are not inadvertently transferred to unintended recipients. This bill calls for a systematic, scientific approach to defining risks of how we handle the various sources of this water to avoid unintended problems. It was passed the House in 2019, but did not receive a vote in the Senate, so will return to the House Rules Committee in 2020.


Bills the League Opposes

None in consideration at this time.



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