Whatcom County family farmers are have made gains in water efficiency, but are hindered by Washinton state’s “use it or lose it law.” The 1917 water code included a provision that water rights granted to a farmer could be withdrawn if the farmer did not demonstrate beneficial use of that water in a five year time period. Farmers are also concerned that they may be asked to absorb huge new regulatory costs by the state Department of Ecology’s new Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permit.
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