Implementation Assistance


Mike Gallagher
Phone: (360) 407-6058
  Eva Richards - Metering
Phone: (360) 407-6643

Dungeness Water Management

This page is being maintained as an archive of past information and will not be updated.

Dungeness Rule Update – March 2016

The Dungeness water management rule, adopted in January 2013, requires mitigation of any new groundwater withdrawals.  Since the rule’s adoption three years ago, more than 100 (101 as of March 2016) water mitigation certificates have been issued, allowing new construction and remodeling to continue and move forward in the areas under the jurisdiction of this water management rule.

Chapter 173–518 WAC - Water Resources Management Program

Rule text for WAC 173-518

On November 16, 2012 Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant signed a new water management rule for the Dungeness watershed that secures water supplies for current and future uses in the Sequim area for the benefit of people, community development, agriculture and fish.  The rule went into effect January 02, 2013.

Petition to amend WAC 173-518

Ecology is posting a copy of the January 21, 2014 Olympic Resource Protection Council (ORPC) petition to amend WAC 173-518 and the March 18, 2014 letter in response.

The law governing petitions for rule making is RCW 34.05.330.  This law states that the agency must, within 60 days, either:

The deadline to issue a written response is Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Memorandum of Understanding between Clallam County and Ecology

On December 21, 2012, Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant signed an agreement with Clallam County to implement the new Dungeness water management rule which becomes effective January 2, 2013.

The agreement will help ensure implementation of the Dungeness rule is integrated into the county’s building permit process.  To help building permit applicants meet the new mitigation requirements, Ecology has been working with Clallam County to establish the Dungeness Water Exchange, commonly called a “water bank.”  The exchange, expected to be up and running on the effective date of the rule, will make mitigation credits (water rights or portions of water rights) available to rural landowners and developers drilling wells or putting well water to beneficial use after January 2, 2013.  This will guarantee that their water use is legally protected and will not harm depleted stream flows.

Ecology is also providing Clallam County with a $100,000 grant to provide financial assistance for building permit applicants who seek mitigation credits for indoor household water uses.  The grant provides funds for the first six months of 2013.

Rule Adoption

Rule adoption documents for Chapter 173-518 WAC - includes links to all rule documents: CR-101 to 103, Adopted rule text, Final cost benefit analysis, Small business economic impact statement, Concise explanatory statement and response to comments, Implementation plan, and Rule adoption notice.

Background - An archive of information and events that led up to the adoption of the rule

Elements of the rule

The key provisions include:

Additional information

In the news

Dungeness Water Watch and Voices of the Dungeness Video Series

The Dungeness Water Watch Newsletters and Voices of the Dungeness Videos have been moved to their own web page.  You can see them now at:

Overview of the basin

WRIA 18 Basin Map
Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 18

The Dungeness watershed has many water challenges.  The amount of water available for use varies greatly across the watershed and throughout the year.  In the mountains, precipitation averages 80 inches a year, compared to Sequim which gets only about 16 inches a year. 

In addition to the naturally limited water supply in many areas, there is also the problem of high demand at the very time water supplies are naturally lowest: the summer and early fall.  Farm irrigation and lawn-watering are at their peaks, at the same time spawning fish and the natural environment also need water in streams.

Significant effort and expense has already gone to restoring flows in the Dungeness River, and protection is needed for these investments.

Population growth in the Dungeness is among the highest in the state, and is only expected to increase.  It is already difficult to get water for new projects since most water is already legally spoken for, especially in the late summer.

The Dungeness watershed is one of 16 in our state that is considered a “fish-critical:” basin with a shortage of water for existing needs.  Four fish species dependent on the Dungeness River have come under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

For additional information:

The Watershed Plan

The final Elwha-Dungeness Watershed Plan was developed and approved under the Watershed Planning Act, Ch.90.82 RCW

An extended Clallam County review of the Plan included several meetings with stakeholders, public meetings, and hearings.  Members of the planning teams reviewed public comment and amended plan recommendations where consensus could be reached.  The Clallam County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the plan on June 7, 2005.

Some Plan recommendations related to rule development include:

Ecology's Elwha-Dungeness Watershed Planning Website