More state-approved water banks in Kittitas County are allowing people to buy water rights to offset the impact of new wells, according to state officials.
The state Department of Ecology since 2010 has reviewed and approved water banks in cooperation with senior water right holders.
At the end of 2011 there were eight water banks in Upper Kittitas County, two in Lower Kittitas County and three pending applications to create water banks.
At the end of 2012 there were 12 water banks in Upper Kittitas County, three in Lower Kittitas County and two pending applications to create water banks, the DOE reported.
According to figures from the DOE, there have been 199 administrative decisions that new wells sought through water right purchases would have a neutral impact on groundwater supplies.
These decisions have allowed 1,656 domestic water supply connections to rural housing in Upper Kittitas County since 2010, the DOE said.
The water banks are market driven by the private water right holders, according to the DOE, meaning they have been established in cooperation with the state by private holders to meet an existing demand for rural housing development.
New banks added
The four new water banks available in 2012 for Upper Kittitas County are:
n Land Lloyd Development, a self-serving bank in the Fowler Creek drainage;
n Roth and Clennon, marketing in both Upper and Lower Kittitas county (this bank accounts for the one new bank in Lower County as well);
n Lake Kachess Cabin Owners, a self-serving bank on Lake Kachess;
n Masterson, marketing in the Teanaway Basin and portions of the mainstem Yakima River.
The goal of the water bank system is to match willing sellers of existing rights to those wanting to drill and use new groundwater wells. Those seeking wells need a water right.
By purchasing a water right, or portion of a right, the buyer can work with the Department of Ecology to cover or offset the amount of water pumped from the aquifer that doesn’t go back in the ground.
More information is available at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/cro/wtrxchng.html.