Trust Water Rights Program

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Review the draft policy

We drafted minor changes to our policy on the Administration of the Statewide Trust Water Rights Program (POL-1010) and we welcome your feedback and comments. Submit comments by June 21, 2024.

The Trust Water Rights Program enables us to hold existing water rights in trust without the risk of relinquishment. Water rights held in trust retain their original priority date while contributing to stream flows and groundwater recharge.
We generally use the Trust Water Rights Program for two purposes:
  1. Temporarily hold water rights in trust to provide environmental benefits while they are not in use. For more information on temporary donations, see below.
  2. Permanently hold water rights in trust to address out-of-stream water supply challenges. For more information, visit our water banks page.

Temporary donations

Water right holders can temporarily donate all or part of their water right to the Trust Water Rights Program.
  • Donors receive their water right back at the end of the temporary donation period without penalty.
  • Water rights held in trust are not subject to relinquishment.
To temporarily donate a water right, or a portion of a water right, a water right holder submits the temporary donation form to Ecology. Once our regional office receives the complete form, we will notify the water right holder if we have accepted their water right into the Trust Water Rights Program. We will also post notice of temporary donation requests on our website.
Right holders may also permanently donate their water rights to trust, which may qualify as a charitable tax deduction. For more information on permanent donations, refer to the Trust Guidance and contact our region staff listed below.

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