We charge fees for some of our applications. We encourage all prospective applicants to schedule a pre-application consultation with one of our regional water right permitting staff to discuss your project, water right requirements, and water availability issues in your area.
Our fee estimator is intended to provide an estimate of fees for a water right application. It should be used for estimating purposes only, as fees are non-refundable.
There is a flat $50 non-refundable application filing 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 payable to a certified water rights examiner and to your county auditor for recording fees
The schedule of fees is summarized from RCW 90.03.470.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Use the fee estimator to calculate the total fees required to process your application. This fee estimator is provided as a courtesy. Do not send in more than the $50 filing fee until we notify you of the remaining fee.
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.
To use this fee estimator, you'll need to know:
- 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.
Additional information about fees
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.
(Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan and Yakima)
Help desk: 509-575-2597
(Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman)
Help desk: 509-329-3400
(Island, King, Kitsap, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom)
Help desk: 425-649-7020
(Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston and Wahkiakum)
Help desk: 360-407-6859
Office of Columbia River
Help desk: 509-454-4241