Columbia River Water Resources Explorer - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find my water right?

There are a number of approaches that you could use to locate your water right on the webmap. Check the Help link located directly above the Map window for more details.

  1. Query the webmap using the document number found on the water right. For example, if your water right number is G2-12345C, enter G2-12345 in the "Record Number" box on the Search by Water Right menu.
  2. Query the webmap by entering the name found the document in the Name box on the Search by Water Right menu.
  3. Use the Map tools to Zoom into the area where your water right located and then the Select Tools to list the water rights found in that area.
  4. Use the Zoom to Location option and enter the Township, Range and Location search options.
  5. Use the Zoom to Address option and enter the street address of the location. You may also simply enter a city or zip code.

The video tutorial shows you how to conduct a number of these types of searches.

I'm not sure if my property has a water right. Can I use the webmap to find out?

On the webmap, zoom to the location of your property. A point of withdrawal symbol and/or shape patterns should be visible on the map.

How can I tell if a water right is valid or not?

The webmap does not indicate the validity of any water right. It merely provides information regarding the location of a water right application, permit, certificate or claim. Only a Superior Court (or higher court) can legally determine whether a water right is valid. The conditions under which a water right may be subject to relinquishment, or forfeiture, are described in RCW 90.14.130-180.

What should I do if I notice errors?

Please contact us and indicate which water right record has an error. Our ability to correct errors is helped if you can also provide documentation containing the correct information.

How accurate are the totals in the Quantity Reports feature?

The quantity reports merely tabulate the numbers -- cubic feet per second, gallons per minute and acre-feet per year, represented by water right documents. They may not represent actual, current use. Many water rights are assumed to no longer be active or are being exercised in a quantity different than originally allocated. Also, in some cases, quantities allocated may be for alternate sources or system redundancy, not for the purpose of increasing the total volume withdrawn or diverted. These are considered to be "non-additive", but the distinction between additive and non-additive quantities is not yet reflected by our water right database.

Some water right holders are required to measure and report their water use to the Department. In the future, we hope to provide options for viewing water use information for those water right users as part of this webmap.

Why aren’t images available for my water right?

The department has images for approximately 96 percent of all water right records and is working toward 100 percent. If you need a copy of a water right record, including associated and supporting records, please contact us.

Why isn’t my name on my water right?

Because water rights generally transfer with the underlying property when the property is sold, a water right record may be in the name of a previous property owner. The Department is not notified of property transfers unless one of the parties also seeks to change an attribute of the water right (e.g., place of use, point of withdrawal, purpose, etc.).

How can I update the information on my water right?

We appreciate your help in making sure our records are accurate. Contact a region office of the Department of Ecology and indicate which water right records contain outdated information. You will be asked to provide details such as parcel numbers and evidence that you own the property to which the water right record is attached. We will update our database to reflect the name and address of the current property owner. At this time, we cannot issue revised versions of water right documents to reflect new addresses or ownership details.

Why isn’t the address on the water right the same as the property?

The address on a water right is a mailing address and may not be the same as the physical address of the property. Also, as addressing schemes have changed over the years, the rural route addresses found on many older water right documents may not longer be in effect. The water right holder may now have a street address which is not yet reflected in our records.

When will you support other browsers?

We hope to support other common browsers in the future but there is not a definite timeframe. In the meantime, use Internet Explorer, versions 7.0 and higher.

Can I tell which water rights are for sale?

The map does not currently provide this functionality. Water right transactions typically occur between private parties. However, if this kind of information would interest you, let us know by sending an email to pclif461@ecy.wa.gov.

Can you make the map faster?

Map speed can be affected by a number of factors, including the speed of your internet connection, your computer, as well as the demands placed upon our servers and the amount of information you're trying to retrieve. There are more than 250,000 water right records. To ensure that you get the best experience possible, we recommend that you attempt to select only the information you need. This will minimize the number of records that have to be retrieved and speed up the results. If you need a larger (e.g., county or watershed level) dataset, there is a GIS dataset available by clicking the GIS Data link on the web map.

Can I only select water rights by the location of the withdrawal of diversion device point?

Yes. Before you make your selection, Click on the Layers tab on the Navigation Menu and uncheck the items under Water Places of Use.

I have an idea for a new map feature. Whom do I contact?

We welcome your questions and suggestions for improvement Send an email to phut461@ecy.wa.gov.