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Office of Columbia River

Wenatchee Basin Coordinated Cost Reimbursement Program

An effort to expedite processing of water right applications in the Wenatchee Basin

Program Details

In 2010, the Washington State Legislature passed amendments to RCW 90.03.265 to allow water right applicants to reimburse a state-approved contractor to assist the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) batch-processing water right applications. This process is called “coordinated cost reimbursement processing”. The decision to approve or deny an application rests with Ecology.

In 2012 and pursuant to RCW 90.03.265(3), Chelan County (County) and local municipal water purveyors initiated a coordinated cost reimbursement program to process pending applications for new water rights in the Wenatchee basin in Chelan County. This effort is being undertaken to resolve a backlog of pending new water right applications, in part by accessing the reserve created in the Wenatchee Instream Flow Rule, WAC 173-545-090 for future beneficial use.

In 2015, Ecology suspended the Wenatchee River Basin Coordinated Cost-Reimbursement process based on the decision of the Supreme Court case Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Ecology. However, in March 2016, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 6513, which concluded that the Swinomish case did not impact the reserve adopted in the Wenatchee Instream Flow Rule. With the uncertainty removed, Chelan County is resuming the Program and assisting applicants who have been waiting for a new permit.

Step 1. Verifying Current Contact Information and Interest

The first step in this effort is to contact the owner of each pending water right application to verify their current contact information and gage their interest in participating in the cost reimbursement processing. In Washington, applications are personal property belonging to the person who filed them, and do not transfer with land sale. Therefore, the current property owner may not be the person Ecology needs to speak with about this program. However, there is a process to assign applications to new owners. There is also an opportunity to amend applications to make sure they reflect current project plans. Initial contact letters sent out in late November 2012 consisted of the following:

Step 2. Evaluation of Eligibility and Cost

The second step is to evaluate the eligibility of each application using criteria detailed in the Initial Contact Letter. These include whether the purpose and quantity requested by each applicant qualifies for the reserve, whether an interruptible water right subject to minimum instream flows can supply the use, and how much it will cost each applicant to process their application.

Step 3. Formal Disclosure of Processing Cost and Invitation to Participate

Responses to the initial contact letter with an invitation to participate in the coordinated cost-reimbursement program have been received from Applicants. Based on the Applicants’ responses and the eligibility determination, Applicants fell into three categories:

  • Applicant is interested and the application is eligible for processing
  • Applicant is interested but the application is ineligible for processing
  • Applicant is not interested in having their application processed

A letter was mailed in June 2014 to inform Applicants of Ecology’s eligibility determination and provide an estimated share of the processing cost that will be due from each interested and eligible Applicant along with an explanation of how the program works. Previously-uninterested Applicants were provided another opportunity to participate in the program. This letter requested that each interested and eligible Applicant elect or decline, in writing, to participate in the cost reimbursement program within 60 days.

In June 2016, a letter was mailed to inform Applicants that Chelan County was moving forward with processing water rights under the Program. This letter was sent to those Applicants that, in 2014, were interested in participating in the Program, were not interested in participating, or who could not be reached. Applicants were asked to respond to this letter by August 1, 2016.

Applicants who agree to pay the processing cost will enter into formal contracts with Chelan County in the summer of 2016. Applicants who decline to participate and Applicants that do not respond within 60 days will keep their applications on file with Ecology, but other Applicants will be processed ahead of them. If applicants need longer than 60 days to arrange financing, they may still be processed under the program if water remains available and if the County is still accepting new applicants. The Wenatchee Basin has a finite reserve of water (4 cubic feet per second) adopted by rule. Applicants who do not participate in this program and instead choose to keep their applications on file risk having inadequate supply for their application in the future. Note that although Ecology cannot prejudge its final permitting decisions, Applicants considered eligible have had pre-vetting of their applications completed under the program criteria and are considered likely to receive a water right permit. All Ecology decisions are appealable to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

 Applicants electing to participate in the coordinated cost-reimbursement processing will share the overall cost for application processing. The cost for each participant in the program covers the cost for the state contractor to do the work, the County to manage the work, and Ecology to review and issue the water right. If an Applicant prefers to have their own contractor contribute to the process, this is also allowed. Processing costs are summarized in the table below:

Summary Total Costs1 if <50
GPM
50 gpm -
200GPM
>200 GPM
Base Cost (Surface Water) $7,900 $8,800 $9,700
Base Cost Plus Hydrogeo (groundwater) $11,900 $13,300 $14,600
Other Consultant Survey-Option2      
Base Cost (surface water + Survey) $5,500 $6,200 $6,800
Base Cost (groundwater + Survey) $6,800 $7,600 $8,400
  1. These costs include a 10% contingency. If this contingency is not used, it will be refunded.
  2.  If you choose to have your consultant (e.g. engineer, hydrogeologist) assist, we have prepared a checklist of information they will need to provide. You may download the checklist here. You will need to contract separately for this cost. We anticipate that the cost of providing the information in this survey will be similar to that of the state contractor, but we recognize you may prefer working with an established professional familiar with your project.  For groundwater, a stamped hydrogeologic memo must be produced by a licensed hydrogeologist or qualifying engineer.

Applicants who participate in the Program should be able to view a draft Report of Examination for their project within 4 months on Ecology’s website, which will be posted for a 30-day public comment period. Ecology expects to issue its decision 2 weeks later, which is followed by a 30-day appeal period.

Who to Contact

As initiators of the coordinated cost reimbursement process for the Wenatchee Basin, Chelan County selected Aspect Consulting, LLC (Aspect) as Ecology’s pre-qualified consultant to lead the project. To accomplish this project on behalf of the County and Ecology, Aspect is coordinating outreach to water right Applicants.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Aspect Consulting by phone at 509-888-2470 or by email at wenatcheewaterrights@aspectconsulting.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I show interest in potentially participating in Step 1, will I be obligated to pay anything?

Not until Step 3: Formal Invitation. In Step 1, we are attempting to verify current owners of the pending applications, and gaging the level of interest in the program among the approximately 150 applicants for a new water right. This information will be used to determine which applicants are eligible for the reserve, and to estimate processing costs. If your application is determined eligible, you will receive a letter in January 2013 requesting your commitment to participate.

Will there be enough water available to fulfill all requests?

The Wenatchee Instream Flow Rule, WAC 173-545-090 created a 4 cubic foot per second (cfs) reserve for future beneficial use. This finite quantity limits the number of requests that can be fulfilled. The reserve will be used to fill eligible new water rights based on priority date until depleted. Applicants who are not eligible for the reserve, will have several options available to them depending on the specifics of their project. Examples include:

  • Receive an interruptible water right. The Wenatchee River supplies a firm supply of water 3 in 10 years, with the remaining years have varying levels of interruption in the summer and fall.
  • Propose individual mitigation that could allow the application to move forward.
  • Agree to remain in line and wait for regional mitigation to provide additional water for processing. Chelan County and Ecology’s Office of Columbia River are partnering on an effort to develop additional water supply in the Wenatchee Basin that can provide future processing opportunities.

What if I decline to participate in the process?

Your application will remain on file with Ecology; however, other applications will be processed ahead of yours. Since the reserve is finite, this may mean that mitigation will be required for your proposal at a later date.

Will my application to change an existing water right be affected by the process?

No. The cost reimbursement process involves only pending applications for new water rights. Applications to change an existing water right will not be considered as part of this cost reimbursement process. Your application will remain on file with Ecology and under RCW 90.03.380(5), your application and existing water right will not be affected by this process. If you have an existing change application on file, you may consider requesting that to be processed via the Chelan County Water Conservancy Board. You can contact the Board at (509) 663-6755.

Pending Wenatchee Basin Application List

Ecology maintains a list of applications filed within the Wenatchee Basin. The following table provides links to images of each application for a new water right in order of priority date:

Application Number Application Supporting Documents Priority Date Applicant
S4-28592 Doc1 1/4/1985 Waltar Alan
R4-28593   1/4/1985 Waltar, Alan
G4-28785 Doc1 8/30/1985 Snohomish Cnty Public Hospital Dist 1
S4-30154 Doc1 1/18/1990 Mish, Stanley
G4-30546 Doc1 9/19/1990 Yancey, Bruce
S4-30459 Doc1 10/23/1990 Allison, Ken
G4-30444 Doc1 11/5/1990 Harrild, Robert
G4-30593   2/19/1991 Blumenthal, Jabe
S4-30594   2/19/1991 Blumenthal, Jabe
S4-30595   2/19/1991 Blumenthal, Jabe
S4-30596   2/19/1991 Blumenthal, Jabe
G4-30883 Doc1 7/5/1991 Hashim, John
S4-30891 Doc1 7/5/1991 Hashim, John
S4-30892 Doc1 7/5/1991 Hashim, John
G4-30989 Doc1 9/19/1991 Lockhart, Alvin
G4-31100 Doc1 1/2/1992 Corbaley, Raymond
G4-31114   1/17/1992 Parsons, David
G4-31172 Doc1 2/20/1992 Widmer, John
G4-31187   3/6/1992 Cowan Orchards Inc
S4-31431 Doc1, Doc2 8/31/1992 Yodelin Water System
G4-31469 Doc1 9/9/1992 Fox Road Water Association
S4-31530 Doc1 10/30/1992 Arnold, James
S4-31676 Doc1 1/29/1993 Johnson, Robert
R4-31677 Doc1 1/29/1993 Johnson, Robert
S4-31667 Doc1 3/4/1993 Riggs, Ronald
S4-31668 Doc1 3/4/1993 Riggs, Ronald
S4-31918 Doc1 1/14/1994 Cashmere City
G4-31884 Doc1 2/28/1994 USFS Wenatchee
G4-31947 Doc1 3/10/1994 McLeod Short Plat 1679 Water System
R4-32056 Doc1 4/22/1994 Johnson, Robert
G4-32057 Doc1 4/22/1994 Johnson, Robert
G4-31994 Doc1 4/22/1994 Saunders, Jeffrey
G4-32034 Doc1 5/19/1994 Olson, Tom
G4-32063 Doc1 5/27/1994 Dempsey, Larry
G4-32127 Doc1 7/18/1994 Dart, Michael
G4-32259 Doc1 12/21/1994 Cashmere Heights Inc
S4-32320 Doc1 5/31/1995 DeLozier, Kearney
S4-32323 Doc1 6/8/1995 Nilsen, Robert
G4-32329 Doc1 7/10/1995 Sunny, Sites Addition
S4-32370 Doc1 10/11/1995 Clarke, Colin
S4-32378 Doc1 11/2/1995 Craig, Gary
S4-32384 Doc1 11/22/1995 Reed Family
G4-32406 Doc1 1/18/1996 Strutzel, Mike
S4-32411 Doc1 2/7/1996 McManus, Lyle
G4-32453 Doc1 5/30/1996 Patterson, Michael
S4-32468 Doc1 8/16/1996 Kirby, Jerry
G4-32483 Doc1 11/12/1996 Dinius, Dana
S4-32498 Doc1 1/10/1997 Cox, Mary
S4-32533 Doc1 4/15/1997 Weiss, Jacob
S4-32534 Doc1 4/15/1997 Weeks, Gary
S4-32537 Doc1 4/28/1997 Coates, Larry
G4-32563 Doc1 8/15/1997 Dodge, Susan
S4-32581 Doc1 9/11/1997 Craig, Gary
S4-32582 Doc1 9/11/1997 Ryan, Richard
S4-32584 Doc1 9/15/1997 Farr, Jim
S4-32609 Doc1 11/24/1997 Israel, Lawrence
S4-32614 Doc1 12/9/1997 Scott, Lowell
S4-32681 Doc1 5/18/1998 Vagners, Juris
G4-32685 Doc1 5/29/1998 Downs, Tim
G4-32696 Doc1 6/8/1998 Two Rivers Sand & Gravel Inc
S4-32695 Doc1 6/8/1998 Two Rivers Sand & Gravel Inc
G4-32712 Doc1 6/22/1998 Davis, Terry
S4-32758   6/26/1998 Radoslovich, Stanley
S4-32736 Doc1 6/29/1998 Dwire, Dick
S4-32749 Doc1 6/30/1998 Shafer, Thomas
G4-32790 Doc1 8/21/1998 Smith, Donald
S4-32792 Doc1 8/24/1998 Rogers, Clarence
G4-32822 Doc1 12/1/1998 Spears, Beve
S4-32824 Doc1 12/16/1998 Kalvelage, Michael & Diane
G4-32833 Doc1 1/7/1999 McMahon, Roger
S4-32843 Doc1 2/11/1999 Martin, Paul
G4-32858 Doc1 3/30/1999 Stoller, Martin
S4-32885 Doc1 9/2/1999 Alexander, Thomas
S4-32886 Doc1 9/7/1999 France, Barbara
S4-34523 Doc1 7/30/2001 DeLozier, K
G4-34541 Doc1 12/27/2001 Sanford, Delores
S4-34542 Doc1 1/7/2002 Rasmussen, Pat
G4-34559 Doc1 6/26/2002 Yakama Nation Fisheries
S4-34901 Doc1 4/17/2003 Kajlich, Aurel
G4-34918 Doc1 7/29/2003 Barnhill, Cliff
G4-34922   10/1/2003 Yakama Nation Fisheries
G4-34930 Doc1 12/19/2003 Longview Fibre Company
S4-34939 T   4/5/2004 Logan, Samuel
S4-35079 Doc1 11/28/2005 Nyberg, Bruce & Karen
S4-35099 Doc1 8/7/2006 Wilson, George
G4-35101 Doc1 8/23/2006 Hampton Lumber Mills Inc
G4-35105 Doc1 8/25/2006 Burnett, William
G4-35143 Doc1 4/3/2007 Yodelin Property Owners Assn
S4-35173 T Doc1 4/11/2008 Icicle Chapter of Trout Unlimited
G4-35182 Doc1 6/27/2008 Alpine Water District
S4-35223 T Doc1 1/22/2009 Chelan Cnty PUD 1
G4-35243(A)   5/27/2009 Cashmere City
S4-35243(B)   5/27/2009 Cashmere City
G4-35260 Doc1 10/12/2009 Yakama Nation Fisheries
S4-35319 Doc1 5/18/2010 Grant Cnty PUD 2
G4-35320 Doc1 5/18/2010 Grant Cnty PUD 2
G4-33005   10/12/2010 Yakama Nation Fisheries
G4-33006 Doc1 10/27/2010 Yakama Nation Fisheries
S4-33010 Doc1 12/8/2010 Yakama Nation Fisheries
G4-33011 T   12/13/2010 Yakama Nation Fisheries
S4-33012 T Doc1 12/13/2010 Yakama Nation Fisheries
G4-33015 T   1/25/2011 Yakama Nation Fisheries
G4-33019 T Doc1 3/2/2011 Yakama Nation Fisheries
S4-33020 T Doc1 3/2/2011 Yakama Nation Fisheries
S4-33022 T Doc1 5/9/2011 Grant Cnty PUD
S4-33026 Doc1 7/1/2011 Yakama Nation Fisheries
S4-33033 T   8/29/2011 Pearmont Inc
S4-33034 Doc1 8/29/2011 Pearmont Inc
S4-33048 T Doc1 1/3/2012 Tall Timber Ranch
S4-33049 Doc1 1/3/2012 Tall Timber Ranch
G4-33056 Doc1 3/14/2012 Offutt, Lawrence Douglas
S4-33062 Doc1 4/25/2012 Grant Cnty PUD 2
S4-33068 Doc1 6/8/2012 Leavenworth City