A “water market” is a general term for mechanisms used to acquire and redistribute water. Many Washington watersheds are faced with a shortage of water to meet existing and future water needs. Water transfers are one of the most important sources of water for new uses, moving water (on paper, not physically) to where it is needed.
Ecology utilizes three programs to facilitate a water market. They are the Trust Water Rights Program, Washington Water Banks and the Water Acquisition Program.
Trust Water Rights Program
Protecting water rights for future uses
The Washington State Trust Water Rights Program provides a way to legally hold water rights for future uses without the water right relinquishing. Water can be held in trust for both environmental (“instream”) and human (“out-of-stream”) uses, either permanently or temporarily. Water held in trust retains its original priority date.
The Trust Water Rights Program is used to implement the Water Acquisition Program and for holding water for Water Banking activities.
Public notice is provided via the web for Trust Water Right Donations and for Trust Water Right Short-term Leases.
Washington Water Banks
Making Water Available for new uses: both in stream, and out of stream.
In Washington state, water banking is making water available for new uses and increasing stream flows. Most of the banking in our state requires use of the State’s Trust Water Rights Program, which requires Ecology to hold water rights in exchange for performing banking activities; these rights do not relinquish. Water banking is a way to move water where it is needed most.
Increasing Stream Flows in Critical River Basins
In 2003, the state launched the Washington Water Acquisition Program, a voluntary program to increase stream flows in 16 watersheds with vulnerable salmon and trout populations. The program is backed by strong interest and support from local, state, federal and tribal governments and private entities. State agencies involved include the departments of Ecology, Fish and Wildlife and Washington Conservation Commission.
Innovative Water Transfers - Western Governors' Association December 3, 2012
Protecting Local Economies - A legislative report by Lawrence J. MacDonnell, P.C. Boulder, Colorado November 30, 2008
Focus on Water Banking
Reports to the Legislature - Water Banking
Water Banking Workshops
Analysis of Water Banks in the Western States
July 2004 Report - “Analysis of Water Banking in the Western States”
Water Smart, Not Water Short - 5 Ways to Secure Water for Washington′s Future
Climate Change - Global Warming in Washington State
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