Stock-Watering Permit Exemption Affirmed by Washington State Supreme Court

Published Jan 30, 2012

In a 6-3 decision, the Washington Supreme Court concluded a lengthy dispute over Washington’s groundwater permit exemption statute, holding that groundwater withdrawn under the permit exemption for stock-watering is not limited to 5,000 gallons per day.  In Five Corners Family Farmers, et al. v. State of Washington, et al., the Court held that RCW 90.44.050 unambiguously allows stock-watering from permit-exempt wells without being limited to a specific quantity.  In a feature article published in the February 2012 issue of Western Water Law & Policy Reporter, Tupper Mack Wells attorney Sarah Mack explains how the Court majority interpreted the statute by applying familiar principles of statutory construction and paying careful attention to sentence structure and punctuation. For more information, contact Sarah Mack at

  • To view the complete article, click here.
  • To view the Court’s opinion, click here.