WSR 09-21-031

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed October 13, 2009, 10:19 a.m. ]

The department of ecology has issued the following interpretive statement:

Water Resources Policy Regarding Collection of Rainwater for Beneficial Uses (POL 1017)

Purpose: To provide a consistent response to water right related issues when considering the use of rooftop collected rainwater.

Subject: This interpretive statement applies to the water right permit requirement in chapter 90.03 RCW and the authority to regulate rainwater harvesting systems.

Document Description: Ecology has determined that existing law may be reasonably interpreted not to require a permit for the on-site storage and use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater. Under the department's policy, the on-site storage and/or beneficial use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater is not subject to the permit process of chapter 90.03 RCW. If and when the department determines that rooftop or guzzler rainwater harvesting systems are likely to negatively affect instream values or existing water rights, local restrictions may be set in place to govern subsequent new systems. To qualify as rooftop collected rainwater, the roof collecting the rainwater must be part of a fixed structure above the ground with a primary purpose other than the collection of rainwater for beneficial use. A guzzler is a device used to catch and store rainwater to provide drinking water for wildlife, livestock or birds.

Effective Date: October 13, 2009.

A copy of the policy and associated procedure may be downloaded at the department of ecology's web site at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/rules/images/pdf/pol1017.pdf.

You may also contact Kurt Unger, Water Resources Program, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-7262 or e-mail kung461@ecy.wa.gov, TDD - if you have special accommodation needs or require this document in an alternate format, please contact Water Resources reception at (360) 407-6600 (voice) or 711 (TTY) or 1-800-833-6388 (TTY).

Responsible Official: Jay J. Manning, director, department of ecology.

POL 1017 WATER RESOURCES PROGRAM POLICY REGARDING COLLECTION OF RAINWATER FOR BENEFICIAL USE
Resource Contact: Policy and Planning Section

Effective Date: October 09, 2009

References: RCW 90.03; RCW 90.54
Purpose: To 1) clarify that a water right is not required for on-site storage and use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater, and (2) identify the Department of Ecology's intent to regulate the storage and use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater if and when the cumulative impact of such rainwater harvesting is likely to negatively affect instream values or existing water rights.
Application: This Interpretive Statement applies to the water right permit requirement in RCW 90.03 and the authority to regulate rainwater harvesting systems.

This policy supersedes any previous Policy/Interpretive Statement, Focus Sheet or other stated Ecology viewpoint with which it may conflict.

After carefully considering existing legal authorities, Ecology has determined that existing law may be reasonably interpreted not to require a permit for the on-site storage and use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater. This Interpretive Statement clarifies Ecology's current interpretation.


The Department's Rooftop/Guzzler Collected Rainwater Policy

The on-site storage and/or beneficial use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater is not subject to the permit process of RCW 90.03. If and when the department determines that rooftop or guzzler rainwater harvesting systems are likely to negatively affect instream values or existing water rights, local restrictions may be set in place to govern subsequent new systems. To qualify as rooftop collected rainwater, the roof collecting the rainwater must be part of a fixed structure above the ground with a primary purpose other than the collection of rainwater for beneficial use. A guzzler is a device used to catch and store rainwater to provide drinking water for wildlife, livestock or birds.

Jay J. Manning

Director


Special Note: Water Resource Program 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.

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