Laws and Rules - Measuring Water Use

Laws and rules governing measuring water

Revised Code of Washington (RCW):

Washington Administrative Code (WAC):

In 1993, the legislature added metering requirements to the water code, RCW 90.03.360.  The law now requires measuring of all surface water diversions.  The Department of Ecology (Ecology) must require measuring as a condition of all new surface water rights and all existing water rights that meet at least one of the following criteria:

Since the addition of metering to the water code, Ecology has required measuring devices and recording and reporting requirements on all surface water withdrawals larger than one cubic foot per second.  Since 1999, Ecology has also required measuring devices on all new water rights for surface and ground water withdrawals, as well as on changes, transfers and as a part of some water resource enforcement actions.

Chapter 173-173 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC)

Chapter 173-173(WAC) became effective on January 21, 2002.  The rule specifies:

What is the purpose of this rule?

Ecology's purpose for this rule is to establish standards of acceptability for measuring devices and methods, as well as requirements for recording and reporting water use data.  Methods described in the rule or other methods used to measure water use in lieu of installing a measuring device must conform to basic requirements and be approved in writing by Ecology.

What are the goals of this rule?

  1. To ensure the reliable, accurate measurement of state water that is diverted, withdrawn, stored and used so that sound decisions may be made in administering state water laws and regulations.
  2. The following are specific goals for the enforcement of water measurement and the reporting of measurement data: