No fees are required for:
- Water right change applications for donating a trust water right to the state
- An application to process a change associated with the acquisition of a trust water right for instream flows or other public purposes
- Applications for emergency withdrawal authorizations or for temporary drought-related water right change requests that we receive in an area where a drought emergency is in effect
- Water right acquisition, storage, or change requests filed by a party under a cost-reimbursement agreement entered into under state law (RCW 90.03.265)
- Applications to be processed by a county conservancy board, as the county board will assess its own fee
Water right and water storage fees
If you choose to file an application, send ONLY the statutory $50 non-refundable processing fee with your completed application.
Once we receive your application, we will calculate fees and notify you promptly by mail if additional fees are required.
You will have 60 days to send us the additional fees, if requested, otherwise we will reject your application. We strongly encourage you to wait until we request additional fees — do not rely on the fee estimator to calculate your initial payment as water right application fees are non-refundable.
The schedule of fees is summarized from RCW 90.03.470.
- New water right applications
- The fee to appropriate new water is assessed at the rate of $1 per one hundredth cubic foot per second (cfs), with a minimum fee of $50 and a maximum fee of $25,000.
- For purposes of calculating fees for groundwater filings, one cubic foot per second is equivalent to 450 gallons per minute.
- Water storage applications
- The fee to store water is assessed at a rate of $2 for each acre foot of water, with a minimum fee of $50 and a maximum fee of $25,000.
- A fee of $1 for each acre foot of water must be paid to change an existing storage right. There is a minimum fee of $50 and a maximum fee of $12,500.
- Water right change applications
- The fee to change, transfer, or amend an existing water right certificate, permit, or claim is $0.50 per one hundredth cfs, with a minimum fee of $50 and a maximum fee of $12,500.
- Inspections of water storage facilities. See the dam safety webpage on fees for exceptions.
- The fee for "high hazard" dams is $1208.
- The fee for "significant hazard" dams is $881.
There is a flat $50 fee for the following types of applications:
- Temporary or seasonal authorizations of water use
- Requests for extensions of time on permits and change authorizations
- Assignments of applications or permits to a different party
- Issuance of water right certificate — additional fees will be due to a certified water rights examiner, and county auditor officers will charge recording fees
About your fee payment
Once paid, all fees are non-refundable.
Use the fee estimator to calculate the total fees that will be required to process your application. This fee calculator is a courtesy so you can know the total fees that will be required to fully process your application.
Note: these processing fees do not include other costs that may be incurred by a water right applicant. Other costs may include expenses associated with application preparation, data collection, and legal and professional representation, or as part of a cost reimbursement agreement.
Water right application fee estimator
Our fee estimator helps you estimate the full amount you’ll be required to pay, once we receive your application.
To use this fee estimator, you'll need to know:
Water right application fees are based upon the rate of withdrawal, not the total volume of water used annually. If you need help estimating the diversion or withdrawal requirements for crop irrigation requirements, review the Washington Irrigation Guide or call the WSU Extension office near you. For municipal, industrial and other uses, we recommend that you work with a design engineer to estimate your water needs.
- For water right and change applications — the rate of your proposed withdrawal or diversion, measured in cubic feet second (surface water) or gallons per minute (groundwater)
- For reservoir applications — the amount of water you intend to store, measured in acre feet
Remember — this is only an estimate. Do not send in fees based on the fee estimator. We encourage all prospective applicants to schedule a pre-application consultation with one of our regional water right permitting offices to discuss your project and learn about water right requirements and water availability issues in your area.
Central Regional Office
Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima
Help desk: 509-575-2597
Eastern Regional Office
Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman
Help desk: 509-329-3541
Northwest Regional Office
Island, King, Kitsap, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom
Help desk: 425-649-7020
Southwest Regional Office
Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum
Help desk: 360-407-6859