Methow Valley, WA photo.  Photo courtesy of Water Quality Program, WA Department of Ecology.Growth Management Act Information


The Growth Management Act

The Growth Management Act (GMA, Chapter 36.70A Revised Code of Washington) requires comprehensive land use planning by counties and cities.

The environmental planning goal is to “protect the environment and enhance the state’s high quality of life, including air and water quality, and the availability of water” (RCW 36.70A.020).

Critical Areas

The GMA requires the designation and protection of “critical areas” to prevent harm to the community from natural hazards and to protect natural resources.

Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas

The goal of establishing CARAs is to protect the functions and values of a community’s drinking water by preventing pollution and maintaining supply.

The GMA defines CARAs as “areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water.”

The following steps characterize where groundwater resources are important to the community and how to protect them.

The Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas Guidance Document provides details about each one of these steps.

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Last updated August 2007