Water banks

Water banks make water available for new uses in areas where existing water supplies are fully allocated. In Washington, water banks provide mitigation for those new uses by setting aside an existing water right so it can be allotted to new uses that would otherwise impair other water rights.

Establishing water banks in Washington

To create a water bank, a would-be-banker meets with us to discuss the water banking process (as outlined in our policy and guidance). Then the prospective banker submits a Request to Establish or Modify a Water Bank form providing a water banking proposal showing how real water needs will be met and identifying an existing right that will serve to mitigate new uses. All water banks require at least one water right be conveyed to Ecology to be “held in trust” in the Trust Water Rights Program, referred to as a “mitigating right.” 

If Ecology agrees that the water banking proposal meets the processing criteria described in POL 1010, we will begin to negotiate a water banking agreement with the prospective banker that describes how the water bank will operate.

Tracking active water banks in Washington

We track water banks including contact information, fees and water bank account balances according to RCW 90.42.170.

Water bank details:

Water bank account balances: