The Sequim Water Rule is technically the Dungeness Water Management Rule.  For simplicity, I’ll call it the Sequim Water Rule.  After many hearings and much ado, the State of Washington has passed the Sequim Water Rule, and this is a major concern for anyone using private wells or expecting to irrigate outside their homes.  The rule restricts water usage for homeowners under an extremely complex set of rules that no one can fully explain.  There are two primary concerns citizens have about the Sequim Water Rule.

What is the Sequim Water Rule?

First, anyone who buys a lot to build a home within the effected area may have to purchase water rights from senior water rights holders.  This is to mitigate the new water use.  Second, anyone who already has their own well will have to purchase water rights from senior rights holders for new water uses.  New water uses are  interpreted to be outdoor or irrigation uses that exceed permitted volumes, but this does not include indoor drinking water.  Watering your grass or plants or flowers or trees or your vegetable garden can be defined as new uses.  But the rules are quite convoluted, and they raise many unanswered questions.  The new terminology and the application of these new concepts makes this Sequim Water Rule a labyrinthian trap for unwary property owners.  For example, to master the new rule, you’ll have to master the intended meanings of words and phrases such as “determination of non-significance,” “instream flow,” “watershed,” “permitted uses,” “maximum depletion,” “maximum allocation amounts,” “subbasins,” “environmental enhancement,” and so on.  And no matter how many articles you read on the Internet about the Sequim Water Rule, you still won’t be certain you really understand it or how it will effect your water use.

Sequim Water Rule Effected Area

Sequim Water Rule

To see the full detailed map of the effected area for the Sequim Water Rule, click on the image above.   Here are two resources for more information on the Sequim Water Rule.  First, one of the best local resources was put together by Marguerite Glover, who has done a tremendous job helping to educate the public, but that site is under construction right now.  The other site is State Dungeness Water Management.

Sequim Water Rule and Buying Land in Sequim

If you are planning to buy a lot in the effected area to build your retirement home, you will want to be sure you address your water use concerns in your due diligence before you close on your lot.  This means using the right addendums to your purchase and sale agreement, and using the right language and timelines.  You don’t have to worry about not having drinking water, but you do need to pay attention to your planned water uses which may be adversely effected by the Sequim Water Rule.

Read our latest article on the Sequim Water Management Rule.

 

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