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State Department of Ecology v. Grimes

Washington Supreme Court
852 P.2d 1044 (Wash. 1993)


Facts

The Washington Department of Ecology (Department) (defendant) determined that it would be beneficial to adjudicate the existing rights to water in a lake. The director of the Department appointed a referee to adjudicate claims. Clarence and Peggy Grimes (plaintiffs) filed a claim for water rights in the lake for irrigation, recreation, and domestic supply. They requested an instantaneous flow rate of three cubic feet per second for irrigation and storage of 1,520 acre feet of water. There was no direct testimony on the amount of water the Grimeses had put to beneficial use in the past. Clarence Grimes did testify that his irrigation system was inefficient and as a result he generally lost some water while the water was being transported. The referee determined that the Grimeses would be entitled to the standard water duty, plus 25 percent to account for transportation loss. This amounted to a total of 1.5 cubic feet per second. The referee also determined that the Grimeses were entitled to 920 acre feet of water for storage. The referee submitted his report to the Pend Oreille County Superior Court, which entered an order thereupon. The Grimeses appealed.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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