Water Right, New
(Permit to Withdraw or Divert Surface or Groundwater)
What is the Purpose of this Permit?
The waters of Washington State collectively belong to the public and cannot be owned by any one individual or group. Instead, individuals or groups may be granted rights to use them. A water right is a legal authorization to use a predefined quantity of public water for a designated purpose. This purpose must qualify as a beneficial use. Beneficial use involves the application of a reasonable quantity of water to a non-wasteful use, such as irrigation, domestic water supply, or power generation, to name a few. An average household uses about 300 gallons of water per day.
Who issues this Permit?
Department of Ecology
What Activities Require this Permit?
To withdraw water and put it to beneficial use except as listed above.
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
Application: Varies depending on amount of water, $50 minimum. The fee to appropriate new water will be assessed at the rate of $1 per one hundredth cubic foot per second (cfs), and the fee for new water-storage projects will be $2 per acre-foot of storage. The maximum application fee to appropriate or store water is $25,000.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
Complete and submit the pre-application form:
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
The purpose of the pre-application meeting is for us to learn more about your proposed project and to provide you with information about:
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?After you have submitted the pre-application form, wait for Ecology to contact you to schedule a pre-application meeting or phone call if you can't travel to a regional office. Our goal is to contact you within 48 hours. In most cases, a meeting will be held within 10 business days following the submission of the pre-application consultation form. Depending on the complexities of water availability, the number of applications filed before yours, and water use within your watershed, a decision on your water right application may take anywhere from months to years.
Where do I Submit my Application?
Schematic:View the schematic .
How Long is my Permit Valid?
A water right permit must be put to use within a timeframe specified by the permit's development schedule. Once the permit has been put to use, the state may issue a Certificate of Water Right. A Water Right Certificate is a property right and will remain in good standing as long as use continues. A water right may lapse if there is a prolonged period of nonuse, (generally five years) unless there is good cause.
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
An applicant or any interested party may appeal a decision by Ecology to issue or deny a permit to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.
Notes / Comments:Pre-application Consultation: Application fees are non-refundable. Before you spend money and effort to prepare a water right application, we strongly encourage you to engage in a pre-application consultation with Department of Ecology staff. We want to understand your water supply needs, and give you our perspective on risks, opportunities and alternatives. For more information, go to http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/rights/newrights.html.
Water Resources Program
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6872
Fax: (360) 407-7162
* Permit information last updated 1/3/2013.
Department of Ecology Environmental Permitting Project Questionnaire © ORA