House Bill 1382 is a response to the Hirst Decision from the Washington State Supreme Court last year. That decision made new rules for tapping underground water for property owners in Washington State, effectively slowing development in rural areas by controlling whether or not a well could be drilled based on a required professional assessment of water availability.
Control of water usage also would stop large developments from being built in rural areas. Good or bad? That will depend on the situation. Many rural cities get water from wells and the Hirst Decision is slowing their ability to grow. Land owners with agricultural needs for water and individual who need a second well are also affected.
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Here is the summary of HB1382
Brief Summary of Bill
Creates a presumption, in the absence of conclusive information to the contrary, that a groundwater withdrawal from a permit-exempt well will not impair a minimum flow of a surface water body.
Defines “conclusive information” to include, at a minimum and among other things, site-specific groundwater testing data that demonstrate a hydrological connection between the groundwater source and the surface water body whose minimum flow would be impacted by groundwater withdrawal.
Prohibits a city, town, or county from withholding approval of a subdivision or a building permit on the basis of not having sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption of nonimpairment.
Requires that comprehensive plans prepared pursuant to certain statutes address the protection of groundwater used for public water supplies in a manner consistent with the presumption of nonimpairment.
Hearing Date: 2/8/17 In the Agriculture, Natural Resources Committee