Historically, Washington residents have enjoyed an abundance of water. As our population grows and more water is allocated, water for new uses is becoming limited in many areas of the state.
We are committed to meeting current water needs and ensuring that water is available in the future for people and the natural environment. As part of that commitment, we are using various strategies to help people get the water they need while protecting natural resources. Some of those strategies include:
- Aquifer storage and recovery
- Rainwater collection
- Reclaimed water
Aquifer storage, recovery and recharge
Aquifer storage, recovery, and recharge augment natural groundwater by introducing supplemental water into an aquifer or water table.
These practices are a cost-effective way to capture and store water when it is available (the wet, cool months) so it can be used during times when water is limited (the hot, dry season). Groundwater storage can serve the same purpose as surface water reservoirs, without many of the issues and costs related to dams.
Read more about aquifer storage, recovery, and recharge, including:
- Benefits of aquifer recovery and shallow aquifer recharging
- How it works
- Regulations and permitting
- The application process
Rainwater collection can provide a water source in areas where other options are limited. A few counties in Washington allow use of rainwater collection as a drinking water source. Rainwater collection provides environmental benefits, such as reducing stormwater runoff pollution into streams, lakes, or marine waters.
Read more about rainwater collection, including:
- Benefits of rainwater collection
- When rainwater collection requires a permit
- Sizing your system
- Rain barrels
- Information sources by county
Reclaimed or recycled water
Reclaimed water is wastewater that has been treated to remove nitrogen and pathogens so that it can be used for another beneficial use.
Reclaimed water is not considered wastewater. Some uses for reclaimed water are:
- Crop irrigation
- Fire fighting
- Street cleaning
- Wetland enhancement
- Dust control
Reclaimed water has to meet minimum standards. Depending on the type of use, strict secondary standards may also need to be met. We issue permits to reclamation facilities that assure water from the plants are meeting the highest standards for each reuse purpose. We also partner with the Washington State Department of Health to develop a rule that will establish requirements for production, distribution and use of reclaimed water.