Yakima County Water Resource System (YCWRS) 

Water Availability - Adequate Water Supply - Well Permit

The Yakima County Water Resource System (YCWRS) is a county-owned and operated water system that provides "mitigated" water supplies for the withdrawal of water from a groundwater permit-exempt well. The YCWRS holds senior water rights and allows the use of such rights by the public when wells are constructed and metered according to YCWRS procedures.

Washington State Supreme Court Decision Whatcom County, Hirst (Eric) v: W Wash. Growth Mgmt. Hr'gs Bd., No. 91475-3 requires the County to make a determination if water is legally and physically available when the County receives an application for a new use. Based on studies by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and other court decisions in the Yakima Basin in Kittitas County, groundwater and surface water are connected and there are more water rights in the basin than there is water. Therefore the County was required to implement a procedure for making that water availability determination. Ordinance 13-2017, adopted December 19, 2017.

Applying for your Water Availability and Well Permits

Several Documents are required for the processing of your YCWRS well permit or proof of Adequate Water Supply and Legal Availability of Water. There are several steps in the process and reviewed by various departments in order to obtain your permits:

WATER RIGHTS You will need to determine your legal evidence of water rights by one of the following:

  1. A water right permit from the Department of Ecology, or
  2. A letter from an approved water purveyor stating the ability to provide water, or
  3. A YCWRS domestic well permit (Yakima County), or
  4. Other adequate evidence of interest in a suitable water right held for mitigation purposes by an existing water bank, or
  5. A Yakama Nation Water Code permit for properties located within the exterior boundaries of the Yakama Nation, or
  6. Documentation that the well site is located outside of the Yakama River watershed.

WATER AVAILABILITY  Throughout the process at each step, always maintain a current copy of the documents as they are updated. Water Availability application form will need to be reviewed by several departments, signed, and re-submitted. 

Start at Step 1 for wells that have not yet been constructed. Start at Step 2 for an existing well.

Step 1: Water Availability Application (New well not yet drilled) Complete the form and submit to Yakima County Public Services to determine Property Eligibility for Well Depth and/or Water Bearing Unit Standard. When depth is determined by Yakima County as indicated on the last page of the form (maintain a current copy after each step), see Step 2.

Step 2:  Re-submit the Water Availability Application (form from Step 1) with your Water Well Report to Yakima County following construction of the well to verify it meets the Well Depth Standard. (Maintain a copy of the updated form.)

Step 3: Adequate Water Determination (AWD) - Yakima Health District will confirm water quality and water availability. The following documentation is required to apply: (Please note, there is a separate fee for the AWD application when you apply.)

  • Adequate Water Determination application
  • Water Availability Form
  • Water Well Report OR 4-hour drawdown
  • Water Test for Bacteria (collected within 6 months)
  • Nitrate Test (collected within 12 months)

For wells that have no power, you will need to hire a pump service to draw a sample for bacteria and nitrate test. If a well log has not been completed, now would be the time to have the pumper also conduct a 4-hour drawdown.

Step 4: Water Metering Agreement and legal description completed with Well Permit that is obtained concurrently with Building or Land Use Permit. (Fee for Well Permit is $650.00)

Step 5: Meter Installation: Please contact Yakima County Public Services when you are ready to install a meter. (This cost is approximately $550 and varies upon installer/contractor and location within the county.)

Agency Referral and Information

  • Department of Ecology - Intent to drill a well, Water Rights -  (509) 575-2490
  • Yakima County Water Resources Division - "Water Availability", well depth & location - (509) 574-2300
  • Yakima Health District - "Adequate Water Determination" - (509) 249-6508
  • Yakima County Utilities Division - "YCWRS Well Permit", water meter specifications, installation, fees, and repair - (509) 574-2300
  • Water Well Report - obtain from a licensed well driller once well has been constructed. You may also contact the Department of Ecology.
  • Water Rights Documentation - proof of legal availability for domestic water rights.
  • Washington State Well Report Viewer