Laws and Rules - Measuring Water Use
Laws and rules governing measuring water
Revised Code of Washington (RCW):
Washington Administrative Code (WAC):
the legislature added metering requirements to the water code, RCW 90.03.360. The law now requires measuring of
all surface water diversions. The Department of Ecology (Ecology) must require
measuring as a condition of all new surface water rights and all
existing water rights that meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Surface water diversions greater than one cubic feet of water per second, or
- Diversions and withdrawals from surface and ground water sources that support
fish stocks classified as critical or depressed by the Washington Department of
Fish and Wildlife.
Since the addition of metering to the water code, Ecology has
required measuring devices and recording and reporting requirements on all
surface water withdrawals larger than one cubic foot per second. Since 1999,
Ecology has also required measuring devices on all new water rights for
surface and ground water withdrawals, as well as on changes, transfers and
as a part of some water resource enforcement actions.
Chapter 173-173 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC)
became effective on January 21, 2002. The rule specifies:
- Who must measure and when it is required.
- Specific data collection and reporting requirements.
- The frequency of
recording measurements based on the size of the diversion or withdrawal.
- Technical requirements that establish
standards of acceptability for measuring devices and methods.
- Requirements for
use of indirect measurement methods in lieu of measuring device use.
What is the purpose of this rule?
Ecology's purpose for this rule is to
establish standards of acceptability for measuring devices and methods, as
well as requirements for recording and reporting water use data. Methods
described in the rule or other methods used to measure water use in lieu of
installing a measuring device must conform to basic requirements and be approved
in writing by Ecology.
What are the goals of this rule?
- To ensure the
reliable, accurate measurement of state water that is diverted, withdrawn,
stored and used so that sound decisions may be made in administering state water
laws and regulations.
- The following are specific goals for the enforcement of
water measurement and the reporting of measurement data:
- determining whether
water is available for appropriation
- assessing and enforcing water rights
- understanding the hydrology of surface and ground waters
- protecting instream resources
- managing the state's watersheds
- informing water users about how much and when water is used
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.htm