H-1213.2  _______________________________________________


                          HOUSE BILL 1875



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Representatives G. Chandler, Linville and Woods


Read first time 02/07/2001.  Referred to Committee on Agriculture & Ecology.

Clarifying rights and duties of municipal water suppliers.

    AN ACT Relating to municipal water suppliers; amending RCW 90.03.015, 90.03.330, 90.03.460, and 90.03.386; adding a new section to chapter 90.03 RCW; and adding a new section to chapter 43.20 RCW.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  A new section is added to chapter 90.03 RCW to read as follows:

    It is in the public interest for municipal water suppliers to be able to use water resources to meet the current and future water supply needs of the public generally and to achieve the objectives of the state's growth management act, chapter 36.70A RCW, where applicable.  A growing communities doctrine, that acknowledges the distinctive role of municipal water suppliers to maintain sufficient water to support future growth within the state, has been implicitly recognized in our statutes and is hereby explicitly adopted.  Accordingly, the legislature declares that water rights shall be interpreted and administered in recognition of the distinctive role and legal duties that municipal water suppliers have to serve growing communities, specifically including but not limited to the following:  Municipal water suppliers may acquire and retain water rights for reasonably anticipated future needs; water rights held by municipal water suppliers shall have a place of use consistent with applicable growth management and water system planning statutes; and reasonable diligence for fully developing new and existing water rights held by municipal water suppliers shall be interpreted consistent with the needs of growing communities for reasonable assurance of continued future water supply.  It is further the intent of the legislature that municipal water suppliers shall comply with applicable environmental laws and rules, including those that provide for protection of fish habitat, and applicable state water conservation requirements.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 90.03.015 and 1987 c 109 s 65 are each amended to read as follows:

    As used in this chapter and chapters 90.14 and 90.44 RCW:

    (1) "Department" means the department of ecology;

    (2) "Director" means the director of ecology; ((and))

    (3) "Municipal water supplier" means a purveyor, as defined in RCW 70.116.030(4), that is either:  (a) A municipal corporation; or (b) an entity that (i) owns or operates a public water system that is entitled or obligated to serve existing and additional customers and uses within one or more approved water service areas to the extent such customers and uses are allowed under an applicable land use plan, and (ii) has an approved water system plan pursuant to chapter 43.20 RCW that includes supplies of water for domestic use, commercial use, and use by publicly owned institutions or structures;

    (4) "Municipal water supply purposes" means any use for which water is or is anticipated to be provided by a municipal water supplier; and

    (5) "Person" means any firm, association, water users' association, corporation, irrigation district, or municipal corporation, as well as an individual.


    Sec. 3.  RCW 90.03.330 and 1987 c 109 s 89 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) Upon a showing satisfactory to the department that any appropriation has been perfected in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, it shall be the duty of the department to issue to the applicant a certificate stating such facts in a form to be prescribed by ((him)) the director, and such certificate shall thereupon be recorded with the department.  Any original water right certificate issued, as provided by this chapter, shall be recorded with the department and thereafter, at the expense of the party receiving the same, be by the department transmitted to the county auditor of the county or counties where the distributing system or any part thereof is located, and be recorded in the office of such county auditor, and thereafter be transmitted to the owner thereof.

    (2) A water right certificate issued before the effective date of this act and held by a municipal water supplier is a right in good standing where:  (a) The water has been applied to beneficial use; or (b) the water is to be used for reasonably anticipated future needs.

    (3) Except as set forth in RCW 90.03.240, the department shall not rescind or reissue any water right certificate without the consent of the water right holder.  Nothing in this section prohibits the department from correcting ministerial errors in a water right certificate.  Nor shall this section be construed to prohibit the department from issuing a certificate pursuant to RCW 90.03.380 or an amendment pursuant to RCW 90.44.100, when the certificate holder applies to the department for a transfer or change pursuant to RCW 90.03.380 or for an amendment pursuant to RCW 90.44.100.


    Sec. 4.  RCW 90.03.460 and 1917 c 117 s 43 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) Nothing in this chapter contained shall operate to effect an impairment of any inchoate right to divert and use water while the application of the water in question to a beneficial use is being prosecuted with reasonable diligence, having due regard to the circumstances surrounding the enterprise, including the magnitude of the project for putting the water to a beneficial use and the market for the resulting water right for irrigation or power or other beneficial use, in the locality in question.

    (2) A municipal water supplier prosecutes its water right with reasonable diligence when the right has been or is identified to meet existing or reasonably anticipated future needs in an approved water system plan pursuant to chapter 43.20 RCW or an approved coordinated water system plan pursuant to chapter 70.116 RCW.  This subsection shall not be interpreted to limit or exclude other methods or means of prosecuting a water right with reasonable diligence, including, without limitation, installed system capacity.

    (3) Municipal water suppliers shall have a minimum of fifty years from the latest approval of a plan identified in subsection (2) of this section to put to use their water rights identified for reasonably anticipated future use.  Municipal water suppliers may have additional time based on the particular facts and circumstances, including, without limitation, the size and nature of the water diversion or conveyance project, projected useful life of facilities, size and nature of service areas, growth projections, system interconnections, water conservation, and financing requirements.


    Sec. 5.  RCW 90.03.386 and 1991 c 350 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

    Within service areas established pursuant to chapters 43.20 and 70.116 RCW, the department of ecology and the department of health shall coordinate approval procedures to ensure compliance and consistency with the approved water system plan.  For water appropriations held by a municipal water supplier, the place of use shall be the water service areas in the municipal water supplier's water system plan approved pursuant to chapter 43.20 RCW or coordinated water system plan approved pursuant to chapter 70.116 RCW, as either plan may be amended from time to time.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.  A new section is added to chapter 43.20 RCW to read as follows:

    The department of health shall adopt as rules conservation and water system efficiency standards and safeguards that shall apply to municipal water suppliers.  The standards shall apply to a municipal water supplier that has at least one thousand service connections.


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