Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle   

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

8 AM to 5 PM PDT (7 AM to 8 AM - Registration, 5 PM to 7PM - Reception)

Conference Summary

It is no small secret that water budgets in the State of Washington are tight. Now that legal water availability must be considered for rural domestic water supply (groundwater permit-exempt uses) under the Growth Management Act (GMA), and some municipalities have been struggling with water quantity and quality, the question of how to maintain water supplies for Washington’s residents has never been more critical. The American Water Resources Association Washington State Section (AWRA-WA) is holding its 2016 Annual State Conference on October 26, 2016 at the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center. The topic for this year’s event, Rural Domestic and Municipal Water Supply, transpires from the recent changes in the water resources legal landscape in the state.

Recent court rulings have significantly altered how the state must manage water, including rural domestic (permit-exempt) uses, and brings Washington State counties into the calculus, as counties must now demonstrate legal water availability in addition to physical availability under the GMA. These changes embrace a larger shift in general perception in the state that permit-exempt groundwater is no longer freely available for appropriation under Washington Water Law. Legal and public policy perception shifts represent a paradigm change in the appropriation and management of Washington’s increasingly limited water resources.

This year’s conference will involve in-depth discussions of recent legal cases and consequential water management challenges. We will summarize the status of rural domestic and municipal water programs and discuss current water resources strategies. Lastly, we will explore future options, and delve into potential policy choices and solutions in response to this changing legal environment. An evening reception will follow the Conference with an opportunity to meet and mingle among water resource professionals, and the opportunity to enjoy a variety of hors d’oeuvres and select beverages.

Our annual conferences have consistently gained popularity over the years, and earned our organization a reputation for approaching the timeliest water-related issues in the State from diverse viewpoints. We hope that you will join us for what promises to be a full day of opportunities to share information, find resources, and network with colleagues from around the region.

Conference Program

Click on the speaker names in the program below to view presentations in Adobe PDF format. Note that not all speakers used Power Point presentations.

7:00-8:00        Registration and Networking

8:00-9:00        Welcome and Session 1: Rural Domestic & Municipal Water Supply Law and Policy

Moderator: Adam Gravley, Van Ness Feldman, LLP


Alan Reichman, Washington State Attorney General’s Office

Hon. Chuck Mosher, Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board

9:00-9:45        Keynote Address

Speaker: Maia Bellon, Washington State Department of Ecology Director

9:45-10:00      Networking Break

10:00-12:00    Session 2: Intersection of Growth Management Act and the Water Code

Moderator: Steve Hirschey, King County


Tadas A. Kisielius, Van Ness Feldman, LLP

Jean Melious, Nossaman, LLP

Tim Trohimovich, Futurewise

Hon. Paul Jewell, Kittitas County Board of Commissioners

Lightning Talk: Michael Gallagher, Washington State Department of Ecology

12:00-12:40    Lunch and Networking

12:40-1:00      State of the AWRA-WA Section and Outstanding Service Award

1:00-2:45        Session 3: Current Rural Domestic and Municipal Water Supply Tools and Programs

Moderator: Jay Chennault, Associated Earth Sciences, Inc.


Joel Freudenthal, Yakima County

Amanda Cronin, Washington Water Trust

Melissa Downes, Office of Columbia River

William Meyer, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

Lightning Talk: Andrew Austreng, Aspect Consulting

2:45-3:05        Networking Break

3:05-4:50        Session 4: Progressive Rural Domestic and Municipal Water Supply Strategies

Session 4 YouTube Video - Click Here

Moderator: Dave Christensen, Washington State Department of Ecology


Philip Rigdon, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation

Larry Wasserman, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Mike Hermanson, Spokane County

Bill Clarke, Washington REALTORS

Steve Malloch, Western Water Futures, LLP

4:50-5:00        Closing by Conference Co-Chairs

5:00-7:00        Reception



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