How do I obtain a mitigation certificate from the water bank?
The first step will be to submit a questionnaire. We will evaluate whether one of the water banks we represent is able to provide mitigation water for your property. If a water bank we represent may provide mitigation water, we will prepare a Groundwater Mitigation Agreement for your review. If you agree to enter into the Groundwater Mitigation Agreement, the next step is to provide a down payment. Mentor Law Group will work with you to prepare the necessary application materials and see that your application is submitted to the Washington Department of Ecology for processing. When an application is approved by Ecology, a Groundwater Mitigation Certificate is recorded on the land’s title at closing.
Why do I need a water right?
In the Yakima River Basin, properties in the Kittitas County area are required to comply with the County’s Code (Title 13) and Ecology’s Upper Kittitas Groundwater Rule (Chapter 173-539A WAC). Please see our blog post on this topic.
How long does the process take?
The processing time varies—it could go as quickly as one month, or upwards of six months. The processing time is largely dependent on the suitability of the property and the volume of applications pending at Ecology at the time the application is made.
How much water do I get?
The water banks offer different quantities of water, from 275 gallons per day on average to 350 gallons per day on average for domestic water uses and water for irrigation purposes. Additional information will be provided once you submit a questionnaire because the location of the property can effect the quantity of water available.
Please note that there are 325,857 gallons in one acre-foot of water. The most common amount of water sold is 0.414 acre-feet/year (134,902 gallons per/year). The total consumptive quantity- the amount assumed to be consumed through use—is much less.
Is there an amount of time I need to start using the water?
Yes, a development schedule is built into the Ecology application. The landowner will need to explain in the application the anticipated length of time to complete their project.
Will I need to meter my use?
Yes, the Washington Department of Ecology will require you to meter and report your water use.
What happens if I sell the property?
The Groundwater Mitigation Certificate is recorded on the land’s title and runs with the land to subsequent landowners. If you sell the property, please consider assigning your interest in the water right to the new landowner by completing an assignment form with the Washington Department of Ecology. The assignment form is available on Ecology's website.