(1) When an application complying with the provisions of this chapter and with the rules of the department has been filed, the same shall be placed on record with the department, and it shall be its duty to investigate the application, and determine what water, if any, is available for appropriation, and find and determine to what beneficial use or uses it can be applied. If it is proposed to appropriate water for irrigation purposes, the department shall investigate, determine and find what lands are capable of irrigation by means of water found available for appropriation. If it is proposed to appropriate water for the purpose of power development, the department shall investigate, determine and find whether the proposed development is likely to prove detrimental to the public interest, having in mind the highest feasible use of the waters belonging to the public.
(2)(a) If the application does not contain, and the applicant does not promptly furnish sufficient information on which to base such findings, the department may issue a preliminary permit, for a period of not to exceed three years, requiring the applicant to make such surveys, investigations, studies, and progress reports, as in the opinion of the department may be necessary. If the applicant fails to comply with the conditions of the preliminary permit, it and the application or applications on which it is based shall be automatically canceled and the applicant so notified. If the holder of a preliminary permit shall, before its expiration, file with the department a verified report of expenditures made and work done under the preliminary permit, which, in the opinion of the department, establishes the good faith, intent, and ability of the applicant to carry on the proposed development, the preliminary permit may, with the approval of the governor, be extended, but not to exceed a maximum period of five years from the date of the issuance of the preliminary permit.
(b) For any application for which a preliminary permit was issued and for which the availability of water was directly affected by a moratorium on further diversions from the Columbia river during the years from 1990 to 1998, the preliminary permit is extended through June 30, 2002. If such an application and preliminary permit were canceled during the moratorium, the application and preliminary permit shall be reinstated until June 30, 2002, if the application and permit: (i) Are for providing regional water supplies in more than one urban growth area designated under chapter 36.70A
RCW and in one or more areas near such urban growth areas, or the application and permit are modified for providing such supplies, and (ii) provide or are modified to provide such regional supplies through the use of existing intake or diversion structures. The authority to modify such a canceled application and permit to accomplish the objectives of (b)(i) and (ii) of this subsection is hereby granted.
(3) The department shall make and file as part of the record in the matter, written findings of fact concerning all things investigated, and if it shall find that there is water available for appropriation for a beneficial use, and the appropriation thereof as proposed in the application will not impair existing rights or be detrimental to the public welfare, it shall issue a permit stating the amount of water to which the applicant shall be entitled and the beneficial use or uses to which it may be applied: PROVIDED, That where the water applied for is to be used for irrigation purposes, it shall become appurtenant only to such land as may be reclaimed thereby to the full extent of the soil for agricultural purposes. But where there is no unappropriated water in the proposed source of supply, or where the proposed use conflicts with existing rights, or threatens to prove detrimental to the public interest, having due regard to the highest feasible development of the use of the waters belonging to the public, it shall be duty of the department to reject such application and to refuse to issue the permit asked for.
(4) If the permit is refused because of conflict with existing rights and such applicant shall acquire same by purchase or condemnation under RCW 90.03.040
, the department may thereupon grant such permit. Any application may be approved for a less amount of water than that applied for, if there exists substantial reason therefor, and in any event shall not be approved for more water than can be applied to beneficial use for the purposes named in the application. In determining whether or not a permit shall issue upon any application, it shall be the duty of the department to investigate all facts relevant and material to the application. After the department approves said application in whole or in part and before any permit shall be issued thereon to the applicant, such applicant shall pay the fee provided in RCW 90.03.470
: PROVIDED FURTHER, That in the event a permit is issued by the department upon any application, it shall be its duty to notify the director of fish and wildlife of such issuance.
(5) The requirements of subsections (1) and (3) of this section do not apply to water resource mitigation pilot projects for which permits are issued in reliance upon water resource mitigation of impacts to instream flows and closed surface water bodies under RCW 90.94.090