12228 Nyanza Rd. SW * Lakewood, WA 98499
Office (253) 581 - 9752
Mobile (253) 21-WATER * Fax (253) 588-1588
e-mail: waterrightsinc@msn.com

Water Rights, Inc. provides professional and technical water resource engineering and planning consulting assistance in Washington State with Kris G. Kauffman, P. E. as the principal.

Water Rights, Inc.’s motto: “Is your water right?”


Qualifications  June, 2014

Mr. Kauffman is the principal of Water Rights, Inc. and has been a registered Civil Engineer in Washington since 1970 and remains in good standing under Professional Engineer License No. 11975.  He graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington in 1965, emphasizing Water Resources course work.  He was born in Port Angeles, Washington in 1942.


Kris has been President of Water Rights, Inc. for over thirty years, performing professional consulting in various aspects of Water Right matters and Water Resource’s Planning, Management and Policy.  In this capacity, he has appeared as an expert or client representative before various State and Federal agencies, County Water Conservancy Boards, the State Pollution Control Hearings Board, various State Superior Courts and Federal District Courts for both Eastern and Western Washington. Separately, Kris was Chief Engineer for Washington State Parks from 1980 to 1992 in responsible charge of engineering for their 120 water supplies, six dams, 80+ sewage systems and many Water Right matters, including claims under the Acquavilla case in the Yakima Basin.


Professional work includes field engineering and design in North America (Alaska, BC, WA, Ore. & Arizona); (West) Pakistan (1965-1968); regional Engineer for the Washington Department of Water Resources (later Ecology) for Northeastern Washington, then all of Eastern Washington, for water rights and flood control permits (1968-1972) inclusive of representing the State in contested water right cases related to both surface and groundwater.


Kris participated in and supervised the project and program planning activities in water resources for all 62 basins in Washington State (1973 - 1980).  He was also in responsible charge of the State's drought response in 1977.  He is generally familiar with Surface and Ground Water Resources throughout Washington State with detailed knowledge in 23 of the principal State River Basins.  He takes part in the Water Resources Advisory Committee’s (WRAC) ongoing deliberations and actions (generally monthly).


In 1979 Mr. Kauffman was appointed to the International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control (IOLBOC) by the International Joint Commission (IJC) under their 1978 Supplemental Order.  He was appointed again with regard to the 1982, 1985 and 2013 IJC orders.  He continues as the longest standing member on this Board with three colleagues from Canada and two from the U. S. (Director, USGS Washington Water Science Center and the Commanding Officer, USACE, Seattle Dist.).


Kris has processed a variety of new Water Rights and Water Right Changes (emergency, temporary, seasonal and permanent), including Hillis rule priority cases for Water Right Changes with regard to both environmental and health exception cases, as well as cases before various County Water Conservancy Boards for expedited processing of Changes.  He is called upon to assist in establishing the extent and validity for existing Water Rights and Claims and has also been involved with reimbursable Water Right processing cases to expedite actions by the State Water Agency.


Another aspect of water right and claim assessment that Mr. Kauffman has dealt with is screening for relinquishment potential.  The administration of Washington’s water law provides for several exceptions and tolling of relinquishment of non-used portion(s) of water rights and claims.  The adoption of an explicit “determined future development plan” is one way to toll relinquishment. He has experience with the type and term of beneficial use, which is of particular importance in consolidating existing water rights and claims under any new water right application.


Mr. Kauffman is well aware that one element being expressly considered by Ecology in their water right decision process this decade is mitigation where there may be restrictions adopted by rule or otherwise interpreted under the public interest definitions found under the Water Resources Act of 1971, et al.


He has been active at the local, regional and national level of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  He is the past Chair of the Water Laws Committee of the Water Resource Planning and Management Division of National ASCE (now part of the EWRI).  He is a founding member and past president of the Washington AWRA Section and the past President of the Washington Resources Council.  He is currently on several boards including serving on the Washington State Water Resources Advisory Committee and as a Trustee for the Pierce County Forterra Land Conservancy group.


Kris is widowed with three children and resides in Lakewood, Washington.