Author Topic: Washington water rights (even for homeowners) affected by Supreme Court ruling  (Read 353 times)

Offline Mr. Bill

  • Like a hot cocoa mojito
  • Administrator
  • Ultimate Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 15347
  • Karma: 1878
  • Trained Attack Sheepdog/Troll hunter
This may affect you if you own property in Washington and intend to drill a water well.

The rule for the last umpteen years has been that you do not need a water right permit if you are:
  • Providing water for livestock (no gallon per day limit).
  • Watering a non-commercial lawn or garden one-half acre in size or less (no gallon per day limit, however limited to reasonable use).
  • Providing water for a single home or groups of homes (limited to 5,000 gallons per day).
  • Providing water for industrial purposes, including irrigation (limited to 5,000 gallons per day but no acre limit).

There are regulations in place to protect stream flows.  In the past, the Dept of Ecology has interpreted those rules as applying only to uses that require a water right permit.

The WA Supreme Court has just ruled exactly the opposite, and is requiring counties (not the Dept of Ecology) to make sure there is enough water available before allowing development.  "Enough water" means enough to protect stream flows, and also enough to ensure that someone else's water right isn't infringed.

At the moment this is causing a certain amount of chaos at the Dept of Ecology, and they are unable to say how it will affect things.

Info from the Dept of Ecology

Spokane Spokesman-Review article

Offline archer

  • Administrator
  • Ultimate Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 17126
  • Karma: 382
  • #ImissAmerica
    • Journey to Greener Pastures
damn

Offline xxdabroxx

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: 28
  • Dave's not here.
Interesting for sure, wonder if this will trickle down to CA. 

Offline Fyrediver

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 344
  • Karma: 22
Certainly another reason to leave this state upon my retirement.  Even if you can get sufficient rain collection it'll make life more difficult.

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 7172
  • Karma: 334
Interesting for sure, wonder if this will trickle down to CA.

Nice pun.   :P

Offline Mr. Bill

  • Like a hot cocoa mojito
  • Administrator
  • Ultimate Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 15347
  • Karma: 1878
  • Trained Attack Sheepdog/Troll hunter

Offline Mr. Bill

  • Like a hot cocoa mojito
  • Administrator
  • Ultimate Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 15347
  • Karma: 1878
  • Trained Attack Sheepdog/Troll hunter
...The WA Supreme Court ... is requiring counties (not the Dept of Ecology) to make sure there is enough water available before allowing development.  "Enough water" means enough to protect stream flows, and also enough to ensure that someone else's water right isn't infringed. ...

And this has just come home to roost in my county.

In brief: New water wells in parts of Benton County WA will require water meters, and water usage will be limited.

If you live in a water-poor area, you might expect to see something like this in your future.

The problem here is that too much water is being demanded from the Yakima River, and USGS has proven that the river water and nearby ground water are connected. Water rights (for river water) have long been established, and the concern is that ground water users are taking water that actually belongs to senior rightsholders for the river water.

Anyway, we've got new rules that go into effect Feb 1st. If you want to put in a new water well in any part of the county that drains into the Yakima River, you'll need to buy water rights from the county in the form of a "mitigation certificate". You'll also need to install a water meter that can be read via the cellphone network, pay an annual fee, and be subject to daily/annual usage limitations and possible curtailment during "extreme low water supply conditions".

The cheapest mitigation certificate (price still unknown) will let you use water not to exceed an average of 200 gal/day over 12 months, and a maximum of 675 gal on any given day, for indoor use only (no irrigation at all). This certificate is only available for properties inside an irrigation district, from which you are expected to buy your irrigation water.

If you're outside an irrigation district, you have a choice of Package B (300 gal/day avg, 1000 gal/day max, irrigated area not to exceed 1500 sq ft) or Package C (400 gal/day avg, 1300 gal/day max, irrigated area not to exceed 3000 sq ft). 3000 sq ft is 0.07 acres, so it will not be possible to have anything like a rural homestead in these areas.