Washington Water Watch 
April 2015

In This Issue
Drought Declared in Washington
Okanagan PUD Exploring Enloe Dam Removal
Freshwater Withdrawals in WA, 2010 Report
Welcoming Dan Von Seggern
Buy Your Tickets Now!
Buy your tickets here and join CELP for our annual fundraiser, Celebrate Water, on May 21, 2015 at Ivar's Salmon House in Seattle, WA. We will celebrate another year of advocacy for Washington's waters and honor Upper Columbia United Tribes with the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award, 
Keep our rivers flowing!
Help ensure clean and flowing waters in Washington State by making a gift to CELP!

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Upcoming Events
May 5: Give Big!  Donate to CELP on May 5th through the Seattle Foundation's Give Big event and have your gift matched!

May 21:Celebrate Water: CELP's annual fundraising reception at Ivar's Salmon House, Seattle, WA, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.  Before the reception, CELP will offer a CLE event, from 4 -5 pm.  The topic is Water Rights, Land Use, and Instream Flows: Current Supreme Court cases.  Speakers will be public interest water lawyers Jean Melious and Patrick Williams.
Happy Earth Day!

Dear friend, 

This month we all celebrated Earth Day, but as our loyal members like you know, here at CELP we treat every day like Earth Day by working to protect Washington's rivers, streams and drinking water aquifers for both people and fish. Our work is even more important now that Washington is experiencing record low snow packs that will likely result in low river flows in the summer and early fall when fish need it the most. CELP does this by watchdogging the Department of Ecology and advocating for strong instream flow rules to protect fish and recreation. But we can't do this without the support of members like you.


CELP has also been working hard in the Legislature this year, by advocating for a more sustainable management of Washington's water resources, and fighting new legislation that could take water out of our rivers and streams. As the session comes to a close CELP has successfully stopped all the misguided legislation, however we will continue to be vigilant as the Legislature goes into Special Session.


This month you'll find articles introducing our new Staff Attorney, Dan Von Seggern, discussing the drought declaration in the state, the status of the Enloe Dam Hydro Project, a summary of the recently released "Freshwater Withdrawals in WA, 2010" report, and more.


We can do this work because of the continued support from our loyal members like you. If you haven't renewed your membership for 2015, do it today by donating on our secure website, www.celp.org.    


Best water wishes,




Trish Rolfe

Executive Director



P.S. Please join us at our annual event, Celebrate Water, on Thursday, May 21st at Ivar's Salmon House! We will be honoring the Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) with the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award! This award recognizes and honors all 15 Tribes and 17 First Nations of the Columbia Basin for their leadership in the United States and Canada -- making possible the restoration of salmon to the Upper Columbia River.

Drought Declared in Washington

By Rachael Paschal Osborn

Governor Inslee's recent declaration of drought in 24 of Washington's 62 watersheds has triggered a flurry of activity. By law, drought is declared when a region's water supply is at 75% of normal (or worse) and this water deficit will cause "hardship" to water uses and users.

Washington has experienced a fairly normal year for rain, but air temperatures over the winter were nearly 5 degrees F higher than normal, making the 2014-15 winter the warmest on record. As a result, snow fall was scant. Mountain snowpack is like a natural reservoir. As accumulated snow melts over the summer, it percolates into groundwater and feeds the headwaters of streams. Water will flow in streams during summer months, even with no rain, as a result of snowpack and groundwater reserves. This year, snowpack is substantially less than normal for the Olympic, Cascade and Northern Rockies mountains, and as a consequence, we are facing a very dry summer season in Washington.


Read More

Similkameen Falls in front of Enloe Dame - Photo by Colton Miller
Okanagan PUD Takes Steps To Explore Enloe Dam Removal

By John Osborn


CELP and partners returned to court on Friday, April 3, to challenge a water right that could reduce water flowing in Similkameen Falls, in north central Washington, to a trickle. The Falls, located on the Similkameen River just downstream of Enloe dam, are a popular scenic attraction and have important cultural and ecological values.


Okanogan Public Utility District (OPUD) purchased Enloe dam in 1953, but has not generated power since 1958.  After two failed attempts to re-electrify the dam in the 1990's, OPUD obtained a federal energy license in 2013.  CELP challenged the water quality certification and won a decision that the proposal to divert 90-99% of the natural flows around the waterfalls lacked scientific foundation.


After oral argument on the water right appeal, Judge Gary Tabor of Thurston Superior Court ruled from the bench in favor of the Department of Ecology and OPUD.  For CELP, the courtroom saga continues a 10-year effort to restore and protect the Similkameen River, including opposition to two new dam proposals, the Shankers Bend and the Fortis BC projects, that are sidelined for the time being.


Read More

Freshwater Withdrawals in Washington, 2010 Report Released


By Trudy Soriano

The US Geological Survey has recently released the Estimated Freshwater Withdrawals in WA, 2010 report, which covers freshwater withdrawals in Washington from 2005 - 2010.


Since 1950, USGS has compiled and published 5-year intervals of data on the amount of water used in homes, businesses, industries, and farms throughout the state. The "Estimated Freshwater Withdrawals in Washington" Report presents the regional, county, and state-level averages for freshwater withdrawals in 2010. 


Water use in Washington has evolved substantially over the years. While our ability to control and divert water supplies has advanced, it is still difficult to keep accurate accounts of the specific amounts of water withdrawn and used throughout the state. As water availability and allocation become increasingly important topics of discussion, this kind of long-term, water-use data will be essential in future resource management decisions.


The total estimated freshwater withdrawals decreased 15% from 2005 to 2010, largely due to decreases in irrigation and thermoelectric power withdrawals. The overall amount of freshwater withdrawals for offstream uses in 2010 was estimated to be about 4,885 million gallons per day (Mgal/d), with average per capita withdrawals rating at 726 gal/d. Approximately 1/3 of the water withdrawn was from ground water, and the rest was withdrawn from surface water. 

Read the Report here  

Welcoming Dan Von Seggern 

Dan Von Seggern joined CELP at the beginning of April as our new Staff Attorney! Dan is a former academic scientist as well as an attorney. He is a graduate of the University of Washington Law School (J.D., 2007) and of the University of California-Berkeley (Ph.D., 1994). He joined CELP in 2015 after working in civil litigation and public defense. Prior to his legal career, Dan spent 20 years working in chemistry, molecular biology and gene therapy. As a third-generation Washingtonian, Dan grew up camping, hiking and skiing and developed a deep appreciation for the Northwest environment and our local waters. In his spare time, Dan spends his time on the water - frozen, fresh and salty


Give Big to CELP on May 21!


CELP is excited to once again join GiveBig!  On May 5th, your donations to CELP through our page on the Seattle Foundation's website will be matched by funds raised by the Seattle Foundation. This is a great opportunity to stretch your donation to CELP. Thank you for your participation!



Thanks for taking the time to read Washington Water Watch!  Thanks to your help, CELP has accomplished much but, as you can see, more needs to be done. You can support our work by making a donation online here, or mailing a check to 911 Western Ave #305, Seattle, WA 98104 

CELP's mission is to protect and restore Washington's rivers and aquifers through science-based management of and advocacy for our waters.  CELP works through public education, grassroots assistance, agency advocacy, legislative reform, and public interest litigation.


If you care about a future with water, please become a CELP member today!

You can reach us at: 206-829-8299 or email us.