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Farmer, Ecology settle water dispute

The state Department of Ecology says it has reached a settlement agreement with a Royal City farmer whom it says was illegally irrigating cropland.

ROYAL CITY, Wash. — A Royal City farmer has agreed to drop an appeal and pay $40,000 of a $59,443 fine to resolve an irrigation dispute, the state Department of Ecology says.

Farrah Wardenaar will be excused from the remaining $19,443 of the fine after three years if she irrigates only within authorized zones, Ecology said in a news release.

Wardenaar has previously said she was unable to get specific coordinates or data to determine the boundary of her water permit on Frenchman Hills near Royal City.

Ecology issued Wardenaar an order to stop irrigating in July 2013. She appealed and continued to irrigate, resulting in a $59,443 fine from Ecology in November for alleged illegal irrigation of cropland in 2012 and 2013.

Wardenaar had permits to irrigate within the boundary of the federal Bureau of Reclamation's Columbia Basin Irrigation Project but had strayed outside the boundary, Ecology said.

The department said it will provide assistance in clearly defining the boundary of her permit. Water in the Columbia Basin Project is tightly managed to provide adequate water supply for users and protect fish and wildlife habitat.

— Dan Wheat



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