Streamflow restoration

In January 2018, the Legislature passed the Streamflow Restoration law 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 clarifies how counties issue building permits for homes that use a permit-exempt well for a water source. 
 
The law directs local planning groups to develop watershed plans that offset impacts and achieve a net ecological benefit from new domestic permit-exempt wells. 
 
The Legislature intends to appropriate $300 million over the course of 15 years to help with implementation of projects that improve streamflow. The funds are available statewide and administered through a competitive grant program.
 
The law is codified as Chapter 90.94 RCW.