Beginning of Chapter  <<  70A.145.010 >>   70A.145.020

Findings and declaration of purpose.

(1) The legislature finds that historically governmental and nongovernmental water purveyors have played two key public service roles: Providing safe drinking water and providing water for fire protection. This dual function approach is a deeply embedded and state-regulated feature of water system planning, engineering, operation, and maintenance. This dual function enables purveyors to provide these critical public services in a cost-effective way that protects public health and safety, promotes economic development, and supports appropriate land use planning.
(2) The legislature finds that the provision of integrated, dual function water facilities and services benefits all customers of a purveyor, similar to other benefits provided to water system customers in response to regulation regarding safe drinking water such as treatment and water quality monitoring.
(3) The legislature finds that water purveyors plan, construct, acquire, operate, and maintain fire suppression water facilities in response to regulatory requirements, including without limitation the public water system coordination act, RCW 70A.100.080, the design of public water systems and water system operations requirements, chapter 246-290 WAC, Parts 3 and 5, the state building code, chapter 19.27 RCW, and the international fire code. The availability of infrastructure and water to fight fires allows for the development and habitability of property, increases property values, and benefits customers and property through lower casualty insurance rates.
(4) The legislature finds that recent Washington supreme court decisions, including Lane v. City of Seattle, 164 Wn.2d 875 (2008), and City of Tacoma v. City of Bonney Lake, et al., 173 Wn.2d 584 (2012), have created uncertainty and confusion as to the role, responsibilities, cost allocation, and recovery authority of water purveyors. If left unresolved, the absence of legal clarity will adversely affect the availability and condition of fire suppression infrastructure necessary to protect life and property.
(5) It is the legislature's intent to determine appropriate methods of organizing public services and the authority of water purveyors with respect to critical public services. The legislature further intends this chapter to clarify the authority of water purveyors to provide fire suppression water facilities and services and to recover the costs for those facilities and services. The legislature also intends to provide liability protections appropriate for water purveyors engaged in this vital public service.
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