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PDFWAC 173-166-070

Emergency drought permits.

Ecology may allow water users to obtain water from alternate sources during drought conditions. To accomplish this, ecology may issue emergency drought permits authorizing withdrawals of groundwater and surface water, including dead storage in reservoirs. Permits will be processed under the following criteria:
(1) Applicants must be conducting a previously established activity within a geographical area declared to be suffering from drought conditions.
(2) An application will be processed if the water user is receiving, or is projected to receive, less than seventy-five percent of normal water supply, as the result of natural drought conditions, for the previously established activity and experiencing, or is expected to experience, undue hardship as a result.
(3) Ecology, plus all state and local agencies with authority to issue permits or other authorizations in connection with emergency actions authorized under the provisions of this chapter, will have fifteen calendar days from the date of receipt of the respective application(s) in which to provide a decision to the applicant. Agencies with authority to review applications for emergency drought permits, such as under RCW 75.20.050, and affected Indian tribes will have fifteen calendar days from the date ecology receives the application in which to provide ecology with an opinion as to any effects of the proposed withdrawal.
(4) Waters authorized to be withdrawn must be used in relation to a previously established activity as defined in this chapter. The permit must not cover irrigation of new lands, restoration or enhancement of the fisheries resource, or a new water use than practiced in the past by individuals, private entities, or public bodies.
(5) Emergency drought permits may authorize replacing all or a portion of the normal supply that is unavailable due to drought, but cannot increase authorized use.
(6) The withdrawal must not reduce flows or levels below essential minimums necessary to assure the maintenance of fisheries requirements and to protect federal and state interests including, but not limited to, power generation, navigation, water quality, and existing water rights.
(7) Emergency drought permits issued under this chapter will be temporary in nature and must expire no later than the expiration date of the order declaring the area in which the permitted activity is authorized to be suffering from drought conditions.
(8) Priority will be given to domestic and irrigation uses of water for any emergency withdrawals authorized under this chapter.
(9) Emergency drought permits issued under this chapter must contain provisions for termination should the withdrawal reduce flows or levels below essential minimums as defined in this chapter.
(10) To expedite the issuance of emergency drought permits, ecology is authorized to process the applications and issue the permits without compliance with requirements for:
(a) Notice of newspaper publication.
(b) The State Environmental Policy Act.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.83B.420. WSR 18-09-031 (Order 17-01), § 173-166-070, filed 4/11/18, effective 5/12/18; WSR 91-03-081 (Order 90-53), § 173-166-070, filed 1/17/91, effective 2/17/91. Statutory Authority: Chapters 43.83B and 43.27A RCW. WSR 88-13-037 (Order 88-11), § 173-166-070, filed 6/9/88.]
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