Water conservancy boards may provide a faster option for processing your application for change or transfer of a water right. Available in many areas of the state, water conservancy boards process change applications and issue records of decision for our review. We then make the final decision to either affirm, reverse, or modify the board’s decision.
How are boards created?
Boards are created by a resolution of the county or counties where they will serve. We approve the county’s petition to create a board based on need and considerations of the public interest. Once created, a board is a separate unit of local government.
Who serves on a water conservancy board?
Board commissioners and alternates are unpaid volunteers living either in the same or an adjacent county. They are appointed by the county for six-year terms.
Each water conservancy board is set up with three or five board commissioners. A board can also have up to two alternates who may substitute for a commissioner unable to take part.
Water conservancy board meetings are open to the public, and a quorum must be present — two eligible members for a three-person board or three eligible members for a five-person board.
Board commissioner training
Before a board commissioner or alternate is eligible to take part in board actions, they must complete 32 hours of training that we provide. Each must also complete eight hours of continuing education every following year to maintain his or her eligibility.
Water conservancy board actions
Water conservancy boards can process changes to the following elements of all or part of an existing water right:
- Place of use
- Point of diversion or withdrawal
- Adding points of diversion or withdrawal
- Purpose of use
Boards may also change some elements of a groundwater permit that has not been perfected (fully used):
- Well location (point of withdrawal)
- Manner or place of use
Counties with boards
Links to board websites are provided, where available.
- Thurston - Board disolved Feb. 2, 2021
- Walla Walla
Related laws & regulations
Water conservancy boards are governed by: