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)
Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Judicial Review of Agency Action and
an Administrative Rule
On May 27, 2016 Ecology received a petition for declaratory judgment
and judicial review regarding the Spokane River instream flow rule
adopted in January of 2015.
If you have questions about this petition please contact, Ann Wessel,
360-715-5215 or by email
Petition to Amend WAC 173-557
On March 1, 2016 Ecology received a petition to amend the Spokane
River instream flow rule adopted in January of 2015. The law
governing petitions for rule making is
After thoroughly evaluating and considering the issues raised we
chose to stand behind our strong instream flow rule.
Using Washington’s water law, Ecology set instream flow levels
relying on tested, well-established standard methods.
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
became effective 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 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.
The Little Spokane River has an existing instream flow rule,
WAC 173-555, was 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 took 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.
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. After February 27, 2015, all
new uses of water from the Spokane River and Spokane Valley Rathdrum
Prairie Aquifer, including new water right permits and permit-exempt
ground water withdrawals, are required to comply with the rule.
Ecology acquired and placed into trust a senior water right for the
purpose of offsetting river impacts from the few new domestic wells
expected in the rule area. This water right is as a water bank to allow
uninterruptible water for new permit-exempt domestic use.
Rule Adoption Documents and Timeline
For the general rulemaking steps required in state law:
All of the documents prepared as part of this rulemaking, including
public comments and Ecology responses, are located here:
Email Notices (ListServ) Sign up on an
electronic mailing list to receive email information and notices about
implementation of the new Spokane River rule: