Chapter 173-557 WAC
Water Resources Management Program (WRMP) for the Spokane River and Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie (SVRP) Aquifer and amendment to WAC 173-555-010
Rule text for WAC 173-557
- New chapter
Rule text for WAC 173-555 (010)
On January 27, 2015 Director Maia Bellon signed a new
instream flow rule for the Spokane River and Spokane Valley Rathdrum
Prairie (SVRP) Aquifer for the benefit of the community and the river.
The rule goes into effect February 27, 2015.
The purpose of an instream
flow rule is to protect and preserve water in streams for “instream
resources” including fish, wildlife, recreational uses, wastewater
management, and hydropower. The legislature gave us the responsibility
to protect rivers and streams with an allocation of water set by
establishing instream flow rules.
The rule applies to the mainstem of
the Spokane River and those portions of Spokane and Stevens Counties
within the boundary of the Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.
The rule protects river flows and balances the needs of all water users by
setting a regulatory threshold to determine when there is water
available for new uses.
With the rule in place, we can make decisions on applications for new permits to use groundwater from the
SVRP Aquifer, which is in direct continuity with the river. We currently
have 22 applications requesting new water in the rule area. Each will be
individually evaluated to determine if a permit to use water can be
Ecology acquired and placed into trust a senior water right with help
from Washington Water Trust that will be used to support river flows and
offset any new domestic well uses that could impact the river in the
The Little Spokane River has an existing instream flow rule,
WAC 173-555, adopted in 1976. Geographically, part of the new
rule area overlaps the Little Spokane River rule area. We amended the
General Provision (section 010) of
WAC 173-555. This amendment for the Little Spokane River takes
effect at the same time as the new rule, and clarifies how each rule
applies to new uses of water in the area where the two rules overlap.
Rule Adoption Documents and Timeline
For all of the documents that were written as part of this rulemaking see:
For the timeline of rulemaking steps required in state law:
Public Comments and Ecology’s Response
Ecology formally proposed the draft rule in September 2014 and
solicited feedback from the community, receiving more than 1,800
comments. Each comment was carefully considered, summarized and
responded to as part of the rulemaking process.
You can review comments and responses in the
Concise Explanatory Statement. This and all of the rule
related documents are located on the Rule
Email Notices (ListServ) Sign up on an
electronic mailing list to receive email information and notices about
implementation of the new Spokane River rule: