Washington's Growth Management Hearings Board Wades Into Water Law

Published Jan 31, 2014

Opponents of Washington’s groundwater permit exemption have opened up a new front in their war on exempt wells.  In Hirst v. Whatcom County, the Growth Management Hearings Board ruled that the state Growth Management Act requires Whatcom County to go far beyond Department of Ecology regulations to restrict the use of exempt wells for rural residences.  In an article published in the November 2013 issue of the Western Water Law & Policy Reporter, Tupper Mack Wells attorney Sarah Mack explores the implications of the Growth Board’s decision for water resource management and land use planning.

The Growth Board’s decision is now on appeal before the state court of appeals, which must decide whether the Growth Management Act directive to “protect rural character” effectively overrides explicit groundwater permit exemptions in the Water Code and explicit “single domestic” exemptions from applicable minimum instream flow regulations promulgated by the Department of Ecology. For more information, contact Sarah Mack at mack@tmw-law.com.

  • To read the article, click here.