Farmer fined $304K over alleged water theft during drought

Posted at 10:32 AM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 12:32:43-04

RICHLAND, Wash. — A farm in southeastern Washington has been fined $304,000 by the Washington state Department of Ecology for irrigating 250 acres without rights to the water.

The Tri-City Herald reports Frank Tiegs LLC in Franklin County has 30 days to appeal. Ecology says the illegal water use threatened stream flows on the Columbia and Snake rivers, which are critical rivers for salmon and steelhead.

The state notice of penalty says the farm built pipelines and two irrigation pivot systems to water previously unfarmed land out of the McNary Pool of the Snake River in the irrigation season of 2021.

Frank Tiegs hasn't responded to a request for comment.