Increasing Stream Flows in Critical River Basins
In 2003, the state launched the Washington Water Acquisition Program, a voluntary program to increase stream flows in 16 watersheds with vulnerable salmon and trout populations. The program is backed by strong interest and support from local, state, federal and tribal governments and private entities. State agencies involved include the departments of Ecology, Fish and Wildlife and Washington Conservation Commission.
How the Program Works
Using state and federal funds, program sponsors are providing an opportunity for farmers, ranchers and other water-right holders to participate in salmon recovery by selling, leasing or donating their water where critically low stream flows limit fish survival.
All water obtained through the program will be returned to the creeks, streams and rivers where it was originally withdrawn. Program sponsors have developed criteria and guidance to help ensure water-right acquisitions receive fair market value and are targeted in areas that will most benefit fish.
Ways to Participate
Sell all or part of your water right:
Lease all or part of your water right:
Donate all or part of your water right on a permanent or temporary basis:
Participants in the state Water Irrigation Efficiencies Program:
These are the 16 basins across the state where low flows are a known limiting factor to salmon populations. They have been identified by the statewide salmon recovery strategy.
In Eastern Washington, the basins are:
Lower Yakima, Methow, Middle Snake, Naches, Okanogan, Upper Yakima, Walla Walla and Wenatchee.
In Western Washington, the basins are:
Cedar-Sammamish, Chambers-Clover, Elwha-Dungeness, Green-Duwamish, Nooksack, Puyallup-White, Quilcene-Snow and Snohomish.
Of Water and Trust
Flow Restoration Prioritization for the 16 Critical Basins
Trust Water Program Workshops
Analysis of Water Banks in the Western States
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