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Water Utilities

This page provides resources and sample documents for public water utilities in Washington State, with a particular emphasis on small water systems.

Introduction

Tap water is an ordinary marvel. Ordinary because we expect clean potable water out of any water faucet we turn on - anywhere. A marvel because it takes an increasingly extraordinary level of effort to provide clean potable water in the quantities needed for municipal use. This webpage provides an introduction to the complex issues that municipalities must consider as they provide domestic water.

Statutes and Regulations

Domestic water is provided by a number of local government entities in Washington State, as noted in the list of applicable statutes below. All water systems are regulated by the Office of Drinking Water in the Washington State Department of Health.

Recommended Resources

Related MRSC Webpages

Fire Hydrant Service

  • Laws of 2013, ch. 127 (SHB 1512) - Water Purveyors--Fire Suppression Water Facilities -Establishes and clarifies the authority of water purveyors to supply fire suppression water facilities and services for cities, towns, and counties, and to recover the costs of providing those facilities and services. A purveyor may allocate and recover the costs of fire suppression water facilities and services: (1) from all customers as costs of complying with state law and regulations; (2) from customers based on service, benefits, burdens, and impacts; or (3) both.
  • Water Utilities and Fire Hydrants: Legislative Update, by Ed Cebron, FCS GROUP, and John W. Milne, Inslee Best Doezie & Ryder, P.S., MRSC Financial Advisor, May 2013
  • Lane v. City of Seattle, 164 Wn. 2d 875 (10/16/2008) - Is it legal for the city water utility customers to pay for fire hydrants? No; provision of hydrant service is a governmental function. Following a decision regarding the payment for street lights, Seattle had its general fund pay for hydrant service, paying the cost from proceeds of a utility tax it levied on its water utility. The utility then raised its rates to pay for the tax. As to earlier (pre-tax) charges, Seattle must make refunds to its affected customers, plus interest. Furthermore, other jurisdictions who have secured hydrant service must pay Seattle for that service.
  • Fire in the Hole: Cities Need to Reassess the Ways They Assess for Fire Hydrants, David W. Findlay and Angie Sanchez Virnoche, FCS Group, and John Milne, Inslee, Best, Doezie & Ryder, PS., AWC CityVision Magazine, November/December 2009
  • Fire Service Impacts on Water Utilities: Managing the Effect of Lane vs. City of Seattle, by Edward Cebron, FCS Group John Milne, Inslee, Best, Doezie & Ryder, P.S., September 2009 - This presentation is made available to you with compliments of FCS GROUP. Further posting, copying or distributing is copyright infringement; contact FCS GROUP Marketing at 425-867-1802 for additional permissions.

Water Rates

Planning

Information Resources

This section contains general resources and links to organizations which are involved in all aspects of domestic water, from regulation to supply.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Washington State Department of Health

Water and Utility Organizations

Water Providers 

Regional Water Providers and Associations

  • Cascade Water Alliance - The Alliance was originally a nonprofit formed in 1999 through interlocal cooperation agreements with Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District, Skyway Sewer District, and Tukwila. It changed to a Joint Municipal Utility Services Authority in March 2012.
  • Clearview Water Supply Agency - An interlocal organization formed by the Silver Lake Water District and the Cross Valley Water district to govern the operation and maintenance of the Clearview Pump Station (CPS). The pump station brings water from Everett's Clearview Reservoir to users in southwest Snohomish County.
  • Everett Drinking Water - Everett provides water to Alderwood Water and Wastewater District, Snohomish County PUD, Marysville, Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District, Monroe, Snohomish, Silver Lake Water and Sewer District
  • Seattle Public Utilities List of Wholesale Water Customers - Cities and water districts
  • South King County Regional Water Association
    • Joint operating agreement between Auburn, Kent, Black Diamond, and King County Water District No. 111 to form the South King County Regional Water Association, 6/1995
  • Tacoma Water - Provides water service to customers in Tacoma, University Place and portions of Pierce and South King counties
  • Water Supply Forum - The Water Supply Forum is a cooperative effort of representatives of public water systems and local governments in the Central Puget Sound region of Washington State. The Forum addresses current and future water supply issues, including supply planning, environmental stewardship, and other water supply related issues currently facing the region

Last Modified: October 04, 2016