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Washington Water Well NOI for Replacement or Additional Wells (19-WA-f)

A developer seeking to use groundwater for an activity may need to drill a new well in a different location than a previous well, drill an additional well at an existing location, or drill a replacement well at the same location to access the groundwater. The Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDE) oversees the process for drilling replacement or new additional wells under RCW 90.44.100. In addition, when a developer needs to drill a new well, the developer must complete the Notice of Intent (NOI) to Drill a Well form and submit the form to the WSDE under RCW 18.104.048 and WAC 173-160-151. The NOI process does not result in a permit or certificate for a water right nor permission or approval to use water from the well. The NOI process is simply to inform the WSDE of the construction and location of a new well. The developer must obtain access to the groundwater through either the water permit/certificate system or a groundwater exemption to the permit/certificate system.

Water Well NOI for Replacement or Additional Wells Process

19-WA-f.1 to 19-WA-f.2 – Will the Replacement or Additional Well Use the Same Location as Advertised in the Original Publication?

If the new well is located in the same area described as the point of withdrawal in the original or most recent public notice published for the water right, the developer may not need to initiate the Transfer or Change of Water Right Process (19-WA-c) so long as the following criteria area also met:

  • The water use is authorized by an existing groundwater permit or certificate (water right claims cannot use this process);
  • The new well must tap the same body of public groundwater as the original well;
  • The construction and use of the new well cannot interfere with any existing wells or impair water rights with an earlier priority date (both surface and groundwater rights with seniority); and
  • The developer must submit a “showing of compliance” demonstrated the above requirements have been met.

For other circumstances the developer must initiate the Transfer or Change of a Water Right Process (19-WA-c) and have the existing water right changed. The water right will not lose its priority date due to the construction of the additional well(s) or relocation of the well. Under either circumstances the developer must also meet the following conditions:

  • If the developer constructs a replacement well(s), the use of the original well(s) must be discontinued and the developer must properly decommission the original well(s).
  • Where an additional well is constructed, the developer may only use the existing well to the extent that the combined total withdrawal from the original well and the additional well(s) does not enlarge the quantity of water conveyed in the original water use permit or certificate.

Note: This process is only available for a water right permit or certificate and does not apply to water right claims.

Transfer or Change of Water Right:

19-WA-f.3 – Notice of Intent to Construct a Water Well

The developer must submit the Notice of Intent to Construct a Water Well form found at Wells: Notice of Intent Forms at least 72 hours prior to the construction of a new well (RCW 18.104.048). Under WAC 173-160-151 the Notice of Intent contains the following information:

  • Well owner name;
  • Well location (street address, county name, ¼, ¼ section, township, range, and tax parcel number);
  • Proposed use (if the intended withdrawal requires a water right, the permit or certificate must be attached to the NOI);
  • Approximate start and completion dates;
  • Contractor registration number;
  • Operator/trainee name and license number; and
  • Drilling company name.

The developer must also pay a fee for the well as stated in further detail in WAC 173-160-151. A new NOI and fee is required for all follow-up construction after the drilling equipment has left the drill site.

Water Well Notice of Intent for New Well:

19-WA-f.4 – Construct Water Well

The developer must hire a Washington licensed well driller to complete the drilling and construction of the well. A list of licensed well drillers can be found at Wells: Licensing webpage. The well driller must construct the well in accordance with WAC Chapter 173-160 “Minimum Standards for Construction and Maintenance of Wells.”

19-WA-f.5 – Showing of Compliance with RCW 90.44.100(3); Water Well Report

The developer must submit the Showing of Compliance with RCW 90.44.100(3) form after the licensed well driller constructions the additional or replacement wells. The developer can obtain the form from the regional WSDE office. As an alternative to the Showing of Compliance form, the developer can write the WSDE a letter that addresses compliance with all of the requirements mentioned above in 19-WA-f.1 to 19-WA-f.2. The developer must sign and have the letter notarized. In addition, the developer should submit the Water Well Report and any additional information the developer has to support the showing of compliance. After the licensed well driller constructs the well, the well driller will complete the Water Well Report (well log) on the form provided by the WSDE. The developer must submit the Water Well Report to the WSDE within 30 days after constructing the well. The Water Well Report form includes detailed instructions for how to complete the form.

19-WA-f.6 – Review Showing of Compliance

WSDE reviews the Showing of Compliance to make sure the developer has completed it fully. The WSDE identifies the appropriate well log and compares the information in the well log and showing of compliance for accuracy. Once the WSDE completes the review and the WSDE records the new point of withdrawal in the water right tracking system, the Showing of Compliance and Water Well Report are filed with the WSDE’s water right records.

19-WA-f.7 – Send Developer Confirmation Letter (Upon Request)

Upon a request from the developer, the WSDE will send the developer a letter confirming that the WSDE received and record the Showing of Compliance form or letter.

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Contact Information

Edit Washington State Department of Ecology
Water Rights and Well Issues Contact 360.407.6094 Visit Website

Edit Washington State Department of Ecology
Water Rights and Well Issues Contact #2 360.407.7727 Visit Website