(1) A new period for filing statements of claim for water rights is established. The filing period shall begin September 1, 1997, and shall end at midnight June 30, 1998. Each person or entity claiming under state law a right to withdraw or divert and beneficially use surface water under a right that was established before *the effective date of [the] water code established by chapter 117, Laws of 1917, and any person claiming under state law a right to withdraw and beneficially use groundwater under a right that was established before **the effective date of the groundwater code established by chapter 263, Laws of 1945, shall register the claim with the department during the filing period unless the claim has been filed in the state water rights claims registry before July 27, 1997. A person who claims such a right and fails to register the claim as required is conclusively deemed to have waived and relinquished any right, title, or interest in the right. A statement filed during this filing period shall be filed as provided in RCW 90.14.051
and shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter regarding statements of claim. This reopening of the period for filing statements of claim shall not affect or impair in any respect whatsoever any water right existing prior to July 27, 1997. A water right embodied in a statement of claim filed under this section is subordinate to any water right embodied in a permit or certificate issued under chapter 90.03
RCW prior to the date the statement of claim is filed with the department and is subordinate to any water right embodied in a statement of claim filed in the water rights claims registry before July 27, 1997.
(2) The department of ecology shall, at least once each week during the month of August 1997 and at least once each month during the filing period, publish a notice regarding this new filing period in newspapers of general circulation in the various regions of the state. The notice shall contain the substance of the following notice:
WATER RIGHTS NOTICE
Each person or entity claiming a right to withdraw or divert and beneficially use surface water under a right that was established before June 7, 1917, or claiming a right to withdraw and beneficially use groundwater under a right that was established before June 7, 1945, under the laws of the state of Washington must register the claim with the department of ecology, Olympia, Washington. The claim must be registered on or after September 1, 1997, and not later than five o'clock on June 30, 1998.
FAILURE TO REGISTER THE CLAIM WILL RESULT IN A WAIVER AND RELINQUISHMENT OF THE WATER RIGHT OR CLAIMED WATER RIGHT
Registering a claim is NOT required for:
1. A water right that is based on the authority of a permit or certificate issued by the department of ecology or one of its predecessors;
2. A water right that is based on the exemption from permitting requirements provided by RCW 90.44.050
for certain very limited uses of groundwater; or
3. A water right that is based on a statement of claim that has previously been filed in the state's water rights claims registry during other registration periods.
For further information, for a copy of the law establishing this filing period, and for an explanation of the law and its requirements, contact the department of ecology, Olympia, Washington.
The department shall also prepare, make available to the public, and distribute to the communications media information describing the types of rights for which statements of claim need not be filed, the effect of filing, the effect of RCW 90.14.071
, and other information relevant to filings and statements of claim.
(3) The department of ecology shall ensure that employees of the department are readily available to respond to inquiries regarding filing statements of claim and that all of the information the department has at its disposal that is relevant to an inquiry regarding a particular potential claim, including information regarding other rights and claims in the vicinity of the potentially claimed right, is available to the person making the inquiry. The department shall dedicate additional staff in each of the department's regional offices and in the department's central office to ensure that responses and information are provided in a timely manner during each of the business days during the month of August 1997 and during the new filing period.
(4) To assist the department in avoiding unnecessary duplication, the department shall provide to a requestor, within ten working days of receiving the request, the records of any water right claimed, listed, recorded, or otherwise existing in the records of the department or its predecessor agencies, including any report of a referee in a water rights adjudication. This information shall be provided as required by this subsection if the request is provided in writing from the owner of the water right or from the holder of a possessory interest in any real property for water right records associated with the property or if the requestor is an attorney for such an owner. The information regarding water rights in the area served by a regional office of the department shall also be provided within ten working days to any requestor who requests to review the information in person in the department's regional office. The information held by the headquarters office of the department shall also be provided within ten working days to any requestor who requests to review the information in person in the department's headquarters office. The requirements of this subsection that records and information be provided to requestors within ten working days may not be construed as limiting in any manner the obligations of the department to provide public access to public records as required by chapter 42.56
(5) This section does not apply to claims for the use of groundwater withdrawn in an area that is, during the period established by subsection (2) of this section, the subject of a general adjudication proceeding for water rights in superior court under RCW 90.03.110
and the proceeding applies to groundwater rights. This section does not apply to claims for the use of surface water withdrawn in an area that is, during the period established by subsection (2) of this section, the subject of a general adjudication proceeding for water rights in superior court under RCW 90.03.110
and the proceeding applies to surface water rights.
(6) This section does not apply to claims for the use of water in a groundwater area or subarea for which a management program adopted by the department by rule and in effect on July 27, 1997, establishes acreage expansion limitations for the use of groundwater.