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PDFWAC 173-563-010

Background and purpose.

The Columbia River is an international as well as an interstate river with its waters subject to laws of seven western states, the Province of British Columbia, Canada and the federal governments of the United States and Canada. The flows and levels of the river are in a state of continuous change through the operation of numerous federally owned or federally licensed dams located within the river. The waters of the Columbia River are operated to support extensive irrigation development, inland navigation, municipal and industrial uses, and hydroelectric power development. Among all these uses, the anadromous fisheries of the Columbia River, which are dependent on clean flowing water, require for their survival the establishment of minimum flows of water and special actions by all agencies sharing in the management of the Columbia River.
The provisions of this chapter apply, as a matter of state law, to water right permits issued pursuant to the state's water rights code. The provisions hereof shall provide the department of ecology the basic state policy relating to minimum flows and levels for the Columbia River, for submission to various federal, interstate and state agencies having jurisdiction over the river. Further, the department of ecology of the state of Washington recognizes that, under our federal constitutional system, regulatory powers over the river are shared powers between the United States and the state of Washington and that by various federal actions the state's powers may, and in some cases have been superseded through the mandates of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.
This chapter is adopted under state legislation, to promote the proper utilization of the water resources of the Columbia River and to protect and insure the viability of the instream resource values associated with the main stem of the Columbia River in the future through (1) the establishment of minimum flows on the main stem Columbia River in Washington state, and (2) the establishment of conservation and efficiency fundamentals relating to out-of-stream and instream uses and values.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.54.040, 90.54.050, chapters 90.03 and 90.22 RCW. WSR 80-08-021 (Order DE 80-2), ยง 173-563-010, filed 6/24/80.]
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