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Comment Period

Draft Guidance

Critical Aquifer Recharge Area Guidance

March 10, 2021 - May 7, 2021, 12 a.m.

We invite your comments on the draft Critical Aquifer Recharge Area guidance.

This guidance helps local governments and residents understand what is required to protect groundwater resources under the Growth Management Act. Our guidance helps local governments plan and follow the state water quality standards to protect groundwater that supplies local drinking water.

The current guidance is from 2005 and needed revision to reflect current laws, rules, and practices. We made revisions to:

  • Reflect GMA laws and rules about Critical Areas amended since 2005.
  • Reflect outcomes of many cases that have been decided by the Growth Management Hearings Board and Superior Court since 2005.
  • Update resource links and references to websites and publications.
  • Maintain consistency with the Washington Department of Commerce Critical Areas Handbook, accessible from their Critical Areas webpage.

The goal of establishing critical aquifer recharge areas (CARA) is to protect a community’s drinking water by preventing pollution and maintaining supply. We help cities and counties comply with CARA requirements that are required by the state Growth Management Act.

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Laurie Morgan
Washington State Department of Ecology
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
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Laurie Morgan, LHG

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