Water rights search guidance
The Water Rights Search is used to either conduct:
- Map based searches using coordinates or any of nine other tools to navigate the map and retrieve map data.
- Text based water right record searches, using up to 24 different input fields to construct queries and find water rights.
The Water Rights Search application is an efficient tool for anyone researching water right permits, certificates, or claims, or seeking to obtain a water right in Washington. This tool can target just one or thousands of water right records, making it useful to consultants, real estate agents, local government staff, elected officials, and holders of existing water rights.
The web map search and record search pages allow users to query and view data and documents relating to water right permits, certificates, and claims. This includes the mapped place of water use and water sources (existing and proposed) for water right certificates, permits, claims, or applications as described on the documents maintained by Ecology. As of March 2021 we've mapped 70 percent of the water rights and claims of water use documents on file.
Each record found in a search provides a link to available water resource documents that include:
- Water right certificates, water use permits, applications for water use, and claims of water use
- The authorized, claimed, or requested quantity of water (both current and annual) and number of irrigated acres
- The purpose of water use, priority date or date of first use, as well as the owner of record
- Flow data from stream gauging stations
Evaluating a water right document
If you are considering purchasing a water right or property that has an existing water right certificate, permit, or claim, do not rely solely on research via the Water Rights Search web application.
It is important to verify the validity of the water right. We suggest that you read the following publications to better understand the water right information available from your search.
- Focus on assessing your water right
- FAQ about water rights in Washington
- Landowner's guide to Washington water rights
- Focus on water right relinquishment
Is the claim valid?
A water right claim is simply that — a claim to a water right for a beneficial use which predates the state water-permitting system. The validity of a claim can only be confirmed through judicial processes.
What if I still have questions or need help with my research?
If you still have questions, please contact the regional office that covers your county. If you need assistance with your research, you can fill out and submit this form to the proper regional office:
- Request for existing water right information — using this form is also a great way to understand what is needed to research water rights by yourself.