New Watermaster Assigned to the Columbia River Basin - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Watermaster Assigned to the Columbia River Basin

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WASHINGTON--The Washington State Department of Ecology has a new Watermaster or what's commonly known as an adviser.

His name is Thomas Perkow.

Perkow will make sure irrigators such as farmers are using water within their water rights.

Watermaster's have been around for decades, but this is the first one for the Columbia River Basin.

Perkow explains what a water right is.

"All surface water and most groundwater, there is a small withdrawal exemption with groundwater, you must go through the Department of Ecology and get a permit or a certificate to use waters of the state of Washington," mentions Perkow.

Perkow will be based out of Wenatchee.

He wants people to know his role is to educate, not issue tickets which can reach up to $5,000  dollars for improper water use.