Spokane Water Rights Law
Do you own the water on your land?
The simple answer is no. The State owns the water in Washington.
The right to use water is considered a “property right” and “runs” with the land. You may own a right to use a certain amount of water for specific purposes. The right to use water in Washington is a valuable commodity that must be protected or the landowner runs the risk of losing it forever.
Eastern Washington Spokane Water Rights Law
- Without the right to access and use water, a person’s property may suddenly prove worthless
- The Whipple Law Group works aggressively with our clients to establish, secure and protect critical Spokane water rights
- We can help prove and maintain your water rights and avoid abandonment or relinquishment of your Spokane water rights
- Our law firm can also help you purchase new water rights or elevate your position in terms of seniority
- Contact us today and find out everything you need to know about Spokane water rights law
Understanding Eastern Washington Spokane Water Use and Ownership Law
We work with farmers, developers, private landowners and municipalities to assemble the proof necessary to establish their Spokane water rights and develop procedures that insure these rights are never lost.
For instance, Eastern Washington Spokane water rights can be lost for lack of use. We work with our clients to “bank” their rights if the water is not being used in the present. Water is allocated to “water trusts” and held for the client until it is needed. This process helps preserve water resources and the right to use the water now and for the future.
Water rights in Washington are based on the concept of scarcity. There just isn’t enough water to go around for all the needed uses. Water is a vital resource allowing us to live, work and play. The state allocates water under the concept of “prior appropriation” or “first in time, first in right.” In the event of drought or low flow, newer rights holders are cut-off to accommodate “older” users. Water rights are also measured by amount of water and assigned for specific uses.
Ways in Which We Can Help with Your Spokane Water Rights
Without the right to access and use water a person’s property may suddenly prove worthless. The Whipple Law Group works aggressively with our clients to establish, secure and protect critical water rights.
Area where we can help:
- Proving your Eastern Washington Spokane water rights
- Maintaining your water right
- Avoiding abandonment or relinquishment of your water right
- Surface water rights
- Ground water (extraction) rights
- Exceptions related to water rights
Our clients understand the importance of establishing their water rights in terms of amount, purpose and timing of the right. The “older” the right the more valuable it is. Our water rights lawyers, at the Whipple Law Group, explore potential evidence sources to verify the rights of our clients. These can include historic records, aerial photography and photographs. We interview community residents to obtain oral testimony and comparative analysis.
We also work with our clients seeking to purchase new water rights or elevate their position in terms of seniority.
Spokane Water Use
The Whipple Law Group doesn’t just help clients that use Eastern Washington surface waters. Many of our clients are dependent on groundwater resources. As the “mining of aquifers” becomes more and more common, the right to extract and use groundwater is harder to obtain. We provide important services to our clients seeking to establish these rights.
The Facts Concerning Watershed Adjudication
Periodically the state engages in the adjudication of water rights within a specific geographic area. An adjudication effort attempts to resolve disputes between competing water users and more recently is used as a tool for water management and maintenance of in-stream flows.
The Yakima adjudication was a process that took over 30 years and affected over 40, 000 landowners. Issues related to this process are still being heard by the courts today.
The Spokane river watershed is scheduled for adjudication. Once this process is initiated, all water users will be required to provide evidence to the court that supports their water right claim. Claimants will need to assert their claim whether or not they have already certified their water rights.
The Whipple Law Group strongly encourages our clients to perfect and establish evidence in support of their water rights and water right claims in advance of any adjudication. We assist them in this process. We also show our clients how to maintain these important rights, which are subject to loss if not done properly.
Call us today to review the current status of your water rights, and better understand Spokane water rights law.