In January 2018, the Legislature passed the streamflow restoration law (RCW 90.94
) that helps restore streamflows to levels necessary to support robust, healthy, and sustainable salmon populations while providing water for homes in rural Washington.
The law was in response to the Hirst decision
, a 2016 Washington State Supreme Court decision that limited a landowner’s ability to get a building permit for a new home when the proposed source of water was a permit-exempt well
The law directs local planning groups
to develop watershed plans that offset impacts from new domestic permit-exempt wells and achieve a net ecological benefit within the watershed.
The Legislature appropriated $300 million over the course of 15 years to support projects that improve streamflow. The funds are available statewide and administered through a competitive grant program