RAPID/Hydropower/Washington/Water Access & Rights

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RAPID

Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Washington Hydropower Water Access & Water Rights(19-WA)

In Washington, a hydropower developer may need to obtain a water right or other approval from the Washington Department of Ecology or a local conservancy board to withdraw or divert public surface or groundwaters of the State for beneficial use. A developer may also need to obtain a Reservoir Permit from the Department of Ecology to construct an impoundment and store water, for beneficial use, in a reservoir. In addition, a developer may need to obtain a Hydraulic Project Approval for any project that diverts, obstructs, or changes the natural flow or bed of any State water.

More Information

Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Washington Federal

Water Right Agency: Washington Department of Ecology
Water Right Classification: Prior Appropriation
Is a Water Right Required for the Project? Yes, a hydropower developer must obtain a water right or other approval from the Washington Department of Ecology or a local conservancy board to withdraw or divert public surface or groundwater of the State for beneficial use. A developer may also need to obtain a Reservoir Permit from the Department of Ecology to construct an impoundment and store water, for beneficial use, in a reservoir. In addition, a developer may need to obtain a Hydraulic Project Approval for any project that diverts, obstructs, or changes the natural flow or bed of any State water.
Defined Terms: A consumptive water use causes “…diminishment of the source at the point of appropriation.” “A water use may be consumptive to a specific reach of a stream when water is diverted, used, or returned to the same source at a point downstream not in close proximity to the point of diversion. The stream reaches between the point of withdrawal and point of discharge is the by-pass reach.” Surface water is non-consumptive when there is no diversion from the water source or diminishment of the source. Additionally, when water is diverted and returned immediately to the source at the point of diversion following its use in the same quantity as diverted and meets water quality standards for the source, the water use is classified as non-consumptive."A consumptive water use causes “…diminishment of the source at the point of appropriation.” “A water use may be consumptive to a specific reach of a stream when water is diverted, used, or returned to the same source at a point downstream not in close proximity to the point of diversion. The stream reaches between the point of withdrawal and point of discharge is the by-pass reach.” Surface water is non-consumptive when there is no diversion from the water source or diminishment of the source. Additionally, when water is diverted and returned immediately to the source at the point of diversion following its use in the same quantity as diverted and meets water quality standards for the source, the water use is classified as non-consumptive." cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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