Certified water right examiner certification

Certified water right examiners verify water use for certification of a water right. They are certified to conduct proof examinations and prepare proof reports of examination and recommendation summaries. We run the certification program.

What is a certified water right examiner?

Certified water right examiners are hired by holders of water right permits or change authorizations to perform proof examinations. Proof examinations involve review of the associated water right record and a field examination of the water withdrawal or diversion works, distribution or transfer system, and the actual water use or uses.

The certified water right examiner then prepares a proof report of examination and recommendation summary to report findings, which is submitted to us for review and decision-making.

Once you receive your certification as a water right examiner, you are eligible to perform proof examinations and prepare proof reports of examination under private contract with water right permit and change authorization holders. We will add your name to the list of certified water right examiners posted on our website, unless you request not to be listed or have chosen to work only on your employer’s water rights.

How can I become a certified water right examiner?

We continue to accept applications for qualified persons to be certified as water right examiners. To become a certified water right examiner, you must:

1. Submit a completed application for certified water right examiner, providing evidence that you meet at least one of the following minimum qualifications:
  • Registration in Washington as a professional engineer.
  • Registration in Washington as a professional land surveyor.
  • Registration in Washington as a registered (licensed) hydrogeologist.
  • Ability to demonstrate at least 5 years of applicable experience.
  • Serve as a current board member of a water conservancy board.
  • There is no application fee.

2. Pay a $300 examination fee; schedule and pass the examination.

3. Submit a signed copy of the rules of professional performance.

4. Pay a $200 initial certification fee.

5. Show proof of financial surety.

The examination

We are now offering the certified water right examiner (CWRE) examination upon request. Once you have an approved application and have paid your fee, email or call the CWRE coordinator to schedule your examination. (Contact information below.)

As required in RCW 90.03.665, the CWRE examination covers the following subjects:

  • Washington water law.
  • Measuring the flow of water through open channels and enclosed pipes.
  • Water use and water level reporting.
  • Estimating the capacity of reservoirs and ponds.
  • Irrigation crop water requirements.
  • Interpreting aerial photos.
  • Legal descriptions of land parcels.
  • Using maps and global positioning to locate land and water infrastructure.
  • Properly constructing and sealing well bores.
  • Other topics related to the preparation and certification of water rights in Washington state.

Qualifying to take the exam does not ensure that you can pass it without further study. If you fail the exam, you may retake it as early as 30 days after testing, but you will be required to pay the $300 exam fee each time. The following links provide information to help you prepare for the test:

What is required after certification?

To maintain your CWRE certification, you must:

  • Continue to meet at least one of the minimum qualifications.
  • Pay your recertification fee each year.
  • Maintain financial surety through insurance or bond.
  • Complete at least 8 hours of continuing education annually.

Recertification fees

The recertification fee is $100 if paid before your current certification expires. A late fee of $50 is added if you pay your fee within 30 days after the certification expires, or $100 for payment 31-to-90 days late.

Providing financial surety

You or your employer can hold any of the following as an acceptable showing of financial surety:

  • $50,000 of general liability insurance,
  • $50,000 of errors and omissions insurance, or
  • $50,000 bond.

The financial surety must cover all acts taken when performing duties under your certification.

If you perform duties under your certification solely for your employer’s water rights, you are exempt from the financial surety requirement.

Continuing education

The following classes have been approved to count toward your 8 hours of training requirements.

Date (2019)



Credit Hours

May 2-3 A River Runs Through It: American Water Works Association Pacific Northwest Conference    AAWA Conference Up to 4 for day 1, 6 for day 2

To add a class, seminar, or conference related to water resource management to this list, please submit the agenda or curriculum information for consideration to cwre@ecy.wa.gov.

Related laws & regulations