Meet Patrick Williams – CELP’s Newest Board Member

Patrick is a Seattle-based attorney with a solo practice dedicated to environmental, land use law, and water law. His litigation experience includes challenges to land use decisions and water right permits. Prior to opening his practice in 2009, Patrick was staff attorney for the Center for Environmental Law and Policy for three years. During that time he worked on water policy issues including rule making and oversight. Patrick joined CELP’s Board of Directors in February.

We asked Patrick some questions about how he became passionate about protecting Washington’s waters, and his connection CELP:

What’s your first memory of being aware of water conservation?
My first memory of water conservation was growing up outside of Denver and our neighborhood was put on a water restriction program. It didn’t amount to much, but we could only use water for outside uses on certain days. As a young kid it opened my eyes to the fact that water didn’t just endlessly come out of the tap and that proper management was required if it was to be sustained.

How did you first become aware of and involved with CELP?

I moved to Seattle in 2005 and after passing the Washington state bar exam I began to look for a job. I focused on environmental law in law school and so I was hoping to work in an environmental non-profit. I found CELP and asked if I could volunteer. They fortunately said yes and after a few months an opening for staff attorney opened up and I was offered the position, which I happily accepted.

What do you wish people knew about CELP or water conservation in general?

I would like people to know of CELP’s amazing and significant history of water resource protection in the state. CELP has a long history of scoring important victories for water resource protection in Washington and I think people should be more aware of the work CELP and its staff have done.

What’s your personal philosophy on what should be done about water conservation?

My personal philosophy on water conservation is a simple one: If Washington wants to maintain its rivers, streams, and aquifers and have continued development then wise long-term management of the resource is the only way. Short-term solutions and reactionary policies will not solve the issue of maintaining Washington’s water resources.

Why are you supporting CELP as opposed to other groups working on water conservation?

I am supporting CELP because I know they are, and have been, the *leaders* in water resource management and protection in the state.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming involved with CELP?

If anyone is interested in continuing to fish for salmon, go hiking to see the state’s beautiful rivers and waterfalls, or is concerned about where the water for future population growth will come from they should support CELP. If you want to make a difference, then they should become involved with CELP.

What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CELP?

I am an attorney and a father of three daughters. When I’m not busy with my work and family I enjoy hiking, camping, and skiing.