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PDFWAC 173-539A-020


RCW 90.54.050 provides that when lacking enough information to support sound decisions, ecology may withdraw waters of the state from new appropriations until sufficient information is available. Before withdrawing waters of the state, ecology must consult with standing committees of the legislature on water management. Further, RCW 90.44.050 authorizes ecology to establish metering requirements for permit-exempt wells where needed.
In 1999, ecology imposed an administrative moratorium on issuing any groundwater permits for new consumptive uses in the Yakima basin, which includes Kittitas County. That moratorium did not apply to permit-exempt withdrawals. In 2007, ecology received a petition seeking unconditional withdrawal of all unappropriated groundwater in Kittitas County until enough is known about potential effects from new permit-exempt wells on senior water rights and stream flows. Ecology consulted with standing committees of the Washington state legislature on the petition and proposed withdrawal. Ecology rejected the proposed unconditional withdrawal, and instead signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Kittitas County. Ecology proposed a rule in January 2009 and Kittitas County questioned ecology's authority for the proposed rule. Ecology later invoked the dispute resolution process under the MOA and the MOA was later terminated.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.54.050 and chapter 43.27A RCW. WSR 11-01-163 (Order 08-12), ยง 173-539A-020, filed 12/22/10, effective 1/22/11.]
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