Policies and Procedures

These policies and procedures are used to guide and ensure consistency among water resources program staff in the administration of laws and regulations. These policies and procedures are not formal administrative regulations that have been adopted through a rule-making process. In some cases, the policies may not reflect subsequent changes in statutory law or judicial findings, but they are indicative of the department's practices and interpretations of laws and regulations at the time they are adopted. If you have any questions regarding a policy or procedure, please contact the department.

Each of the policies and procedures are Adobe Acrobat files that can be viewed and downloaded separately from the following tables, or a combined file from the following list.


Water Right Administrative Policy

Administration of Water Right Permits

Combined File of all WRP Policies

Policy Number

Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 1000 Water Right Administration Policy (updated 03/30/2015)
POL 1005 Internet Posting of Reports of Examination (01/01/2007)
POL 1015 Diversion or Withdrawal of Saltwater (12/19/1994)
POL-1017 Policy/Interpretive Statement regarding Collection of Rainwater for Beneficial Use (10/09/2009)
POL 1020 Consumptive and Non-consumptive Water Use (10/31/1991)
POL 1021 Priority Processing - Water Budget Neutral Projects (01/21/2004)
POL 1025 Conveying Stockwater Away from Streams (Revised 12/02/1994)
POL 1030 Preliminary Permits (Revised 09/13/2001)
POL 1035 Temporary and Emergency Drought Permits (Revised 09/10/1992)
POL 1037 Permits for Short-Term Water Use (09/10/1992)
POL 1040 Use of Terms that Clarify Relationships Between Water Rights  (03/09/2006)
POL 1045 Emergency Water Source Authorization (09/15/2006)
POL 1050 Extension of Time on Water Right Permits Revised (01/20/06)
POL 1060 Recision and Relinquishment of Water Rights (11/22/91)
POL 1070 Administrative Confirmation of the Division of Water Rights Among Multiple Owners Revised (01/20/06)
POL 1070 (form) Request for Administrative Confirmation of Division of a Water Right - Form (07/03/2003)
POL 1120 Conducting Tentative Determinations of Water Rights (08/30/2004)

Changes of Water Right

Policy Number Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 1200 Evaluation of Changes or Transfers to Water Rights (revised 09/08/2014)
POL 1210 Evaluation of Changes to Enable Irrigation of Additional Acreage or the Addition of New Purposes of Use to Existing Water Rights Revised (02/08/06)
POL 1230 Consolidation of Rights for Exempt Ground Water Withdrawals (01/11/1999)
POL 1255 Water Quality, Water Resources, and Shorelands & Environmental Assistance Programs Joint Policy - Roles and Responsibilities for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Hydropower Projects (08/15/2010)
POL 1260 Policy to Replace an Existing Well or to Add an Additional Well(s) (09/30/1999)
POL 1260 (form) Showing of Compliance with RCW 90.44.100(3) - Form ECY 040-74
POL 1280 Development Schedules for Water Right Changes and Transfers (09/08/2014)

General Water Resources

Policy Number Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 2005 Water Resources Enforcement (07/22/1992)
POL 2010 Defining and Delineation of Water Sources (02/15/2007)
POL 2015 Water Right Permits for Fire Fighting or Protection (03/14/2008)
POL 2020 Water Use Associated with Heat Pumps (05/14/2007)
POL 2025 Policy/Interpretive Statement on When to Perform a Maximum Net Benefits Analysis (01/31/2005)
POL 2030 2003 Municipal Water Law Interpretive and Policy Statement - Revised (05/07/2012)
POL 2035 Evaluating Mitigation Plans - Effective Date: (02/20/2013)

Water Right Administrative Procedure

Administration of Water Right Permits

Combined file of all WRP Procedures

Procedure Number Description of Procedure and Version Date
PRO 1000 Water Right Administration Procedures (updated 03/30/2015)
PRO 1043A Dispute Resolution, State and Tribal Comments on Water Right Applications (02/11/1990)
PRO 1050 Procedure for Notification of Water Right Actions to the Department of Revenue (10/01/04)
PRO 1105A Notification of Indian Tribes of Water Right Applications (05/01/1990)
PRO 1210 Calculating and Applying the Annual Consumptive Quantity (ACQ) Revised (02/22/2016)
PRO 1250 Hydroelectric Projects: Water Rights Permitting and Establishing Instream Flows (2/12/2010)

General Water Resources

Procedure Number Description of Procedure and Version Date
PRO 2006 Well Drilling License Renewal and Enforcement Actions (01/25/1994)
PRO 2025 Basic Steps for Evaluating Maximum Net Benefits (01/31/2005)

Water Resources Program Guidance

Combined file of all WRP Guidance


Guidance Number

Description of Policy and Version Date
GUID 1210 Determining Irrigation Efficiency and Consumptive Use (10/11/2005)
GUID 1220 Guidance for Processing and Managing Trust Water Rights (02/22/2016)
GUID 2005 Levying Civil Penalties (05/13/2009)
GUID 2035 Guidance for Amending Water Right Claims (Effective Date 04/15/2008)
GUID 2040 Ensuring Proper Signature on Applications and Forms (Revised 10/09/2013)
GUID 2045 Water Resources Program Business Team Operating Procedures 11/16/2009
GUID 4100 Staff Guidance for Administration of Chapter 173-153 WAC Water Conservancy Boards (10/31/2006)

Dam Safety Program Policies

Dam Safety Program Policy

Policy Number

Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5101 Designation of state dam safety office (07/01/1999)
POL 5102 Applicability of dam safety policies and procedures (07/01/1999)
POL 5103 Applicability of policies to dams which are federally owned (07/01/1999)
POL 5104 Applicability of policies to non-federal dams which are licensed or exempted for hydropower by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) (07/01/1999)
POL 5105 Exemption of dams which are six feet or less in height (07/01/1999)
POL 5106 Multiple small dams in series (07/01/1999)

Construction Permit Process

Policy Number

Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5201 Issuance of construction permit (07/01/1999)
POL 5202 Engineering approval of construction plans and specifications (07/01/1999)
POL 5203 Assessment and collection of fees for engineering review of construction plans and specifications and for construction inspections (07/01/1999)
POL 5204 Plan review requirements for construction change orders (07/01/1999)
POL 5205 Review of construction plans and specifications received after project construction (07/01/1999)
POL 5206 SEPA compliance as related to issuance of construction permit (07/01/1999)

Construction Inspection

Policy Number

Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5301 Inspection of construction work (07/01/1999)
POL 5302 Construction inspection plans by dam owners (07/01/1999)

Inspection of Existing Dams

Policy Number

Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5401 Periodic inspection of existing dams - Federal Dams (07/01/1999)
POL 5402 Periodic inspection of existing dams - hydropower dams licensed or exempted by FERC (07/01/1999)
POL 5403 Periodic inspection of existing dams - Ecology sole regulatory agency (07/01/1999)
POL 5404 Frequency of periodic inspections (07/01/1999)
POL 5405 Dams constructed without prior DSS approval of plans and specifications (recent construction) (07/01/1999)
POL 5406 "Older" dams which were constructed many years ago without DSS approval of plans and specifications (07/01/1991)
POL 5407 Periodic inspections of metals mining tailings impoundments (07/01/1999)

Compliance and Enforcement

Policy Number Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5501 Enforcement guidelines and procedures (07/01/1999)
POL 5502 Use of enforcement action when voluntary compliance is not forthcoming (07/01/1999)

Project Operation

Policy Number Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5601 Operation and maintenance manuals and emergency action plans (07/01/1999)
POL 5602 Emergency spillway requirements at off-channel storage facilities (07/01/1999)

Response to Emergencies

Policy Number Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5701 Emergency response procedures by dam safety section (07/01/1999)
POL 5702 Discretionary actions during emergency or exigency situations (07/01/1999)

Miscellaneous Topics

Policy Number Description of Policy and Version Date
POL 5801 Coordination with Ecology Water Quality Financial Assistance Program (07/01/1991)