SPOKANE, Wash. -

An Eastern Washington farmer has reached a settlement agreement with the state Department of Ecology after illegally irrigating cropland on Frenchman Hills near Royal City.

Farrah Wardenaar received and appealed an order to stop irrigating her property last July. She continued to illegally irrigate her cropland and Ecology issued a $59,443 fine in the fall.

Wardenaar has agreed to withdraw her appeal and pay $40,000 of the fine. The rest will be excused after three years if she meets settlement conditions.

Water supply in the Columbia Basin Project is tightly managed to ensure adequate water supply for users and to protect fish and wildlife habitat.