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Office of Columbia River

Columbia River Water Use Compliance

Unauthorized water use denies water to those who hold legal water rights and limits the amount of water available for economic development and sustaining a healthy environment. Part of OCR’s mission is to ensure that water is allocated and used fairly and legally. To accomplish this, OCR hired a watermaster to investigate possible unauthorized use along the Columbia River.

Watermasters employ a multi-tiered approach to bringing unauthorized water use into compliance. Formal enforcement actions are the last, and least used, step. They are only employed when all of the other steps fail to bring the water user into compliance.

Compliance/Enforcement Steps (RCW 90.03.605)

  • Encourage Voluntary Compliance.
    • Discuss with responsible party.
    • Provide technical assistance.
    • Agree on course of action.
    • Monitor progress.
  • Issue notice of violation.
    • Discuss with responsible party.
    • Provide technical assistance.
    • Agree on course of action.
    • Monitor progress.
  • Issue formal administrative order.
    • Discuss with responsible party.
    • Provide technical assistance.
    • Monitor progress.
  • Issue Notice of Penalty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More information about compliance.

Contact the OCR Watermaster.

Columbia River Compliance Issues

OCR’s Watermaster continues to work with certain water users whose water use is, or appears to be, out of compliance. Most of these entities have temporary solutions in place. Depending on the specifics of each case, further research, technical assistance, permitting, informal enforcement actions, and formal enforcement proceedings may be, or are being, pursued.