Water Transfer Working Group - Questions and Answers

What is the Water Transfer Working Group?

The Water Transfer Working Group (WTWG) is a voluntary team of agencies and water users that meet to provide technical review of proposed water right transfers in the Yakima basin. The WTWG process guides applicants to those types of water right changes and transfers that can quickly and easily gain approval from the state. Speed, certainty and convenience are important factors for drought year water right transfers.

What service does the WTWG perform?

The WTWG reviews water right transfer proposals that prospective water users submit to the group. The WTWG uses a predetermined set of rules tailored to the Yakima River basin that are intended to protect other water rights to the Yakima River and tributary streams. These rules are available at:

CAG Transfer Guidelines

Applicants are encouraged to tailor their proposed transfers to meet these rules.

Once the WTWG completes its review, how do I know it’s done?

If the WTWG determines a proposed transfer is consistent with the predetermined rules, the WTWG will indicate that the water right change is “Recommended.” A “Recommended” determination is very likely to receive approval from the Yakima County Superior Court or Ecology. The WTWG will help applicants make necessary adjustments so that their proposed transfers can be “Recommended.” If a proposed transfer is not “Recommended,” the applicant is still free to apply to Ecology or the Court for approval.

Is the WTWG a regulatory agency?

No. In fact, the WTWG is a group of hydrologists, water users and water rights experts from across the basin who have come together to cooperatively assist the transfer process. The WTWG is not a permitting entity at all. Jurisdiction to approve or deny water right changes on water rights subject to the Yakima River adjudication rests with the Yakima County Superior Court (for temporary changes and transfers) or with Ecology (for permanent changes or transfers). Ecology has jurisdiction over ground water rights within the Yakima basin.

Is there a form I can use to initiate the WTWG review process?

Yes. The project description form used by the WTWG includes information necessary to determine how well your project meets the predetermined criteria. The form is available at:

WTWG Project Form (130kb pdf)

Where can I learn more about the WTWG?

CAG Transfer Process

WTWG E-mail Contacts:

Trevor Hutton, Department of Ecology;
trevor.hutton@ecy.wa.gov