Special Covid-19 half-price replay sale!

28th Annual Conference on Critical Developments in

Water Law and Resource Management in Washington

Major legislative changes, final Yakima adjudication decision, drought and flood adaptation, instream flows, water supplies, and much more

Presented on June 27 & 28, 2019

Seattle, WA

Download PDF Brochure
Seminar Image

Program Overview

Who Should Order

Attorneys, environmental and land use professionals, local government and Tribal representatives, planners, landowners, water users, and other stakeholders

Why You will Benefit from the Replay

May 9, 2019 represents a historic moment for water resource management in Washington because it is the date of Judge James J. Gavin's final order in the 40-year Acquavella Yakima River Basin Adjudication. We'll start this year's program with a detailed update on the decision, substantive and procedural lessons learned, and the implications for water rights transfers and other adjudications.

This year also sees renewed interest in addressing climate change, due to extreme weather events and the resulting droughts, fires, and flooding. You'll have a chance to hear from an expert on new developments in climate science, emerging Artificial Intelligence tools for improving our predictive abilities, and operational strategies for addressing the impacts. One of the potential solutions is water storage, and we'll have a presentation on Ecology's dam safety study and how safety risks should factor into water resource planning.

Another key recent development was the Agua Caliente Supreme Court decision on Tribal reserved water rights. We'll have the lead Tribal trial counsel from that case to discuss the ruling and implications for Tribes wanting to use reserved rights to develop water supplies.

SB 6091 and the Foster decision have led to a number of pilot projects and task force investigations relating to instream flows. We also have new developments to discuss with regard to Columbia River resource management. We hope you'll join us for what promises to be a very timely and informative program.

~ Thomas M. Pors, Esq. of Law Office of Thomas M. Pors and Mary Verner, Esq. of Washington State Department of Ecology, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • Completion of the Yakima River Basin Adjudication (the Acquavella Case)
  • Update on the provisions of the final decree
  • How future changes for adjudicated rights will be processed
  • The process for future adjudications and how they fit into Ecology's water resource management priorities
  • Water resource management in the face of climate change
  • Tribal reserved water rights after the Agua Caliente decision
  • Current developments in Columbia River resource management
  • Instream flow restoration under SB 6091 and the Foster decision
  • How to factor dam safety risks into water storage plans
  • King County franchise case regarding fees for use of rights of way
  • Implications of the PCHB decision in the Fode case
  • Other legal developments
  • Ethical issues for water lawyers

What Attendees Said

  • "Very good!"
  • "I enjoyed hearing all the different perspectives during each session."
  • "I'm not a lawyer or DOE employee but I deal with water rights a fair amount. I found most of the presentations very interesting and informative."
  • "This program was very topical and I found that extremely useful. Nicely done!"
  • "Great seminar! Thank you."

Agenda Day 1

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Thomas M. Pors, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Law Office of Thomas M. Pors / Seattle, WA

Mary Verner, Esq. , Program Co-Chair, Manager of Water Resources Program
Washington State Department of Ecology / Olympia, WA

8:45 am

Completion of the Yakima River Basin Adjudication (the Acquavella Case)

The time line and lessons from the 40-year history of the case

Sidney P. Ottem, Esq.
Brumback & Ottem / Union Gap, WA

How will future changes for adjudicated rights be processed?

Joe Mentor, Jr., Esq.
Mentor Law Group / Seattle, WA

10:00 am


10:15 am

Conjunctive Management as the Best Approach for Future Adjudications

The desirability of integrating adjudication of ground and surface water rights

Trevor Hutton , Water Resource Section Manager
Washington State Department of Ecology / Union Gap, WA

11:00 am

Update on Ecology's 2019 Drought Declaration

Expectations for water availability and the need to maintain streamflows for fish: The implications for water management in the Upper Yakima, Okanogan, and Methow watersheds

Jeffrey J. Marti , Water Resources Planner and Drought Coordinator
Washington State Department of Ecology / Olympia, WA

11:45 am

A Big Picture Look at Ecology's Plans for Water Resource Management

Adjudication processes, funding, and finding a best fit with Washington water resource management priorities; other key policy concerns and initiatives

Mary Verner, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Department of Ecology / Olympia, WA

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Water Resource Management in the Face of Climate Change

Overview of the challenges climate change poses for water supply management

Terese (T.C.) Richmond, Esq. , Moderator
Van Ness Feldman / Seattle, WA

What climate science tells us about the future for droughts and floods

Crystal Raymond, Ph.D. , Climate Adaptation Specialist
University of Washington Climate Impacts Group / Seattle, WA

Beyond conservation to transformation: Emerging Artificial Intelligence tools for adapting water supply management to better cope with climate change

Paul Fleming , Corporate Water Program Manager
Microsoft / Redmond, WA

Best water utility strategies to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change on water resources

Raymond Hoffman, Ph.D. , Strategic Policy Advisor
Cascade Water Alliance / Bellevue, WA

3:30 pm


3:45 pm

Water Storage and Dam Safety

Update on Ecology's recent safety report to the legislature: Areas where local planners need to create contingency plans to accommodate the risk of water storage facility failures

Stephanie Duvall, Esq. , Assistant Attorney General
Washington State Office of the Attorney General / Olympia, WA

4:15 pm

Water Rights Trading

Market performance and metrics for trading across the West: Implications for the use of trading programs as a resource management tool in times of drought

Clay Landry , Managing Director
WestWater Research / Boise, ID

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Friday, June 28, 2019

8:30 am

Columbia River Resource Management

Perspectives on congressional funding for the Yakima Basin plan; progress getting pumpers off ground water and onto canals; progress towards aquifer recovery; ways to speed up water availability for contracting to irrigators or other users

Mike Schwisow , Owner
Schwisow & Associates / Olympia, WA

Update on re-negotiation of the Columbia River Treaty with Canada and the implications for downstream resource management

Thomas G. Myrum, Esq. , Executive Director
Washington State Water Resources Association / Olympia, WA

9:45 am


10:00 am

Instream Flow Restoration Under SB 6091 and the Foster Decision

Overview of, and perspectives on, the pending issues and most problematic basins: Foster pilot projects; Skagit Basin Task Force; prospects for extending the joint legislative task force, funding changes, and changes to Ecology's rules

The Hon. Debra Lekanoff , (D) District 40
Washington State House of Representatives / Olympia, WA

Dave Christensen , Program Development Manager, Water Resources Program
Washington State Department of Ecology / Olympia, WA

Jason Van Gilder, PE , Associate Engineer - Public Works
City of Sumner / Sumner, WA

Joseph E. Becker, LHG, PG, RPG , Principal Hydrogeologist, President & General Manager
Robinson Noble Inc / Tacoma, WA

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Legal Updates

King County franchise case on the ability of counties to tax water districts for use of county rights-of-way for water lines

Mark S. Leen, Esq.
Inslee Best Doezie & Ryder / Bellevue, WA

Penalties and enforcement: The PCHB decision in the Fode case and the issues it has generated; the extent to which the issues indicate a need for a broad policy update

Thomas M. Pors, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Law Office of Thomas M. Pors / Seattle, WA

Other noteworthy cases, legislative developments, and Ecology rulemaking developments

Alan Reichman, Esq. , Senior Counsel
Washington State Office of the Attorney General / Olympia, WA

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

Ethical Issues for Lawyers

Evolving issues for water lawyers as new developments happen

Leland G. Ripley, Esq.
Ripley Law Firm / Duvall, WA

4:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Thomas M. Pors, Thomas M. Pors, Program Co-Chair, Law Office of Thomas M. Pors, focuses on water rights development and transfers, project permitting, municipal water system planning, and water rights appeals.

Mary Verner, Mary Verner, Program Co-Chair, is Manager of the Water Program at the Department of Ecology. She is a former Executive Director of the Upper Columbia Tribes and Mayor of the City of Spokane.

Terese (T.C.) Richmond, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, Moderator, is a partner at Van Ness Feldman. She currently serves as a committee member of the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) on Applied Climate Assessment to help policy makers increase climate adaption and resilience.

Dave Christensen Dave Christensen is the Program Development Manager for the Water Resources Program at the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Stephanie Duvall Stephanie Duvall is an Assistant Attorney General in the Ecology Division of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. She supports the Dam Safety Office.

Paul Fleming Paul Fleming is Water Program Manager at Microsoft. The water program is a part of Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence for Earth program.

Raymond Hoffman, Ph.D., Raymond Hoffman, Ph.D., is Strategic Policy Advisor for the Cascade Water Alliance. He formerly served as Director of Seattle Public Utilities.

Trevor Hutton Trevor Hutton is the Section Manager for the Central Region for Ecology's Water Resources Program.

Mark S. Leen Mark S. Leen is part of the team of attorneys at Inslee Best Doezie & Ryder who are representing water and sewer districts in their challenge to King County's ordinance imposing rental fees for use of county rights-of-way.

The Hon. Debra Lekanoff, The Hon. Debra Lekanoff, (D) District 40, is a member of the Washington State House of Representatives. She is leading legislative efforts to save orca whales by preventing oil spills.

Jeffrey J. Marti Jeffrey J. Marti is an Environmental Planner and Drought Coordinator for the Washington State Department of Ecology. He recently completed an update of the Washington State Drought Contingency Plan.

Joe Mentor, Jr., Joe Mentor, Jr., Mentor Law Group, concentrates his practice in the areas of water resources, land use, and natural resources development.

Thomas G. Myrum is Executive Director of the Washington State Water Resources Association.

Sidney P. Ottem, Sidney P. Ottem, Brumback & Ottem, managed the stream adjudication for the Yakima Basin as a judicial officer beginning in 1999 until its near completion in 2008.

Crystal Raymond, Ph.D., Crystal Raymond, Ph.D., is a Climate Adaptation Specialist at the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. She studies climate change impacts on forest ecosystems, with a particular interest in fire, and also the impacts on hydropower operations and electricity demand.

Alan Reichman, Alan Reichman, Senior Counsel, is an Assistant Attorney General for the Ecology Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office. He serves as Section Manager of the Water Resources Section.

Leland G. Ripley, Ripley Law Firm, focuses his practice on on all aspects of legal ethics and professional responsibility. He formerly served as Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Washington State Bar Association.

Mike Schwisow, Mike Schwisow, owner of Schwisow & Associates, is the Government Relations Director for the Washington State Water Resources Association, the Columbia Basin Development League, and the Washington Winegrowers Association.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 12.75 Washington MCLE credits, 12.75 AICP planner credits, and 12.75 ABCEP certified environmental professional maintenance. Upon request, we will help you apply for CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.