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September 27 – October 3
The “permit-exempt” well provision of Washington state’s 1945 Groundwater Code was also known as the homestead exemption because it allowed a rural homeowner to dig a water well for personal use without obtaining a water right permit, provided the homeowner limited water use to 5,000 gallons per day (gpd) for in-house use and a sufficient amount for a half acre lawn and garden.
While these wells have supported rural development and housing for decades in many parts of the state, they have contributed to a depletion of the groundwater in those watersheds where rapid population growth is occurring.
Typical rural water use ranges from 200 to 500 gpd for in-house use but because Ecology has no authority to reduce the 5,000 gpd limit, the agency has only one tool to reduce the proliferation of permit-exempt wells in water short basins: close the entire basin to new groundwater withdrawals.
Learn more >> Groundwater Permit Exemption
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