Local Water Plans enable win-win outcomes for fish and farms by offering more flexible water usage to Washington water rights holders in the Walla Walla Basin.
Despite static restrictions imposed by water rights, the demands and constraints of water use are always changing. Historically, Washington water rights holders have only been able to modify these restrictions through formal requests to the Department of Ecology. Upon its formation in 2009, the Partnership was given the unique authorization to process and approve these water rights changes locally in the Walla Walla Basin, within its "Flow From Flexibility" framework.
Local Water Plans are now the Partnership's go-to vehicle for water right changes, providing local flexibility sought by water right holders in exchange for net benefit to instream flows. "Net instream flow benefit" can be established with a variety of mechanisms, leveraging targeted increases in both water quality and quantity, and is custom-tailored to fit the constraints of each operation.
Local Water Plans are developed in cooperation between the water rights holder, Partnership Staff, and the Partnership's Water Resource Panel. Each Local Water Plan is approved based on merit by the Partnership Board, with oversight from the Department of Ecology. Win-win outcomes for fish and farms are paramount. After five years of a Local Water Plan being active, the water rights holder is allowed to request permanent modification of their water rights documents to reflect the changes included in the Local Water Plan.
Please contact Partnership Staff to learn more about how Local Water Plans can work for you.
Below is the list of current Local Water Plans developed in cooperation with Washington's Walla Walla Basin water users.