The Touchet Eastside Westside Irrigation District has agreed to pay a reduced fine for illegally using water intended to protect fish, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.
The department fined the district $73,530 in August for diverting water placed into trust to provide stream flows for threatened steelhead in the Touchet River in the 2014 irrigation district. The district had placed the water in a state trust in 2009 in exchange for taxpayer money to help upgrade its water delivery system.
The state agreed to to reduce the fine to $62,543 after the district provided metering data that more accurately reflected the amount of water illegally used.
Under a settlement agreement, the district will pay half of the fine and the rest could be excused after three years. The district would need to provide accurate metering data and stay within its permitted water limits to get have the fine excused.
The district also must apply $10,000 of the fine toward operation and maintenance of metering and reporting equipment.