Weekly REDEW: Supreme Court Upholds Municipal Water Law

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I am not a lawyer (my brother is, and he lives closer to home…). And so you can imagine my surprise when I received an email from GordonDerr LLP proudly announcing the results of a court case that I didn’t even know was happening…and can’t quite understand the impacts of. Sound random? You bet. Which means that it qualifies as last week’s Random Economic Development Email of the Week!

On Thursday, October 28, 2010, the state Supreme Court issued the long-awaited decision in Lummi Indian Nation, et al., v. State of Washington. This landmark water rights decision upholds the Municipal Water Law (MWL) against all of the Plaintiffs’ facial constitutional challenges and resolves decade-old disputes and uncertainties over the water rights of public water systems in this state…The Court’s decision upholds a landmark law that secures water for the future for many growing communities statewide.  The MWL also calls for water utilities to be good stewards of a limited resource through conservation.

The reason this caught my eye is that we’re starting to take a look at water conservation as an economic development opportunity through our International Regions Benchmarking Consortium. This is the group of 10 regions from around the world that gather once a year to share data and best practices. For 2011, the meeting with take place in Vancouver, BC focusing on specific issues of sustainability like waste, energy…and water.

We’re particularly excited about this last once because of some of the work going on in Tacoma with the Center for Urban Waters and the state’s work on the Puget Sound Partnership. Not to mention the work going on with the Duwamish clean-up in Seattle. Put it all together and we’ll definitely have something to share at the IRBC.

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