This page provides resources and sample documents for public water utilities in Washington State, with a particular emphasis on small water systems.
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.
- Ch. 35.92 RCW - Municipal Utilities
- Ch 36.94 RCW - Sewerage, Water, and Drainage Systems
- Ch. 54.16 RCW - Powers Public Utility Districts
- Ch 57.08 RCW - Powers Water-Sewer Districts
- RCW 87.03.015 - Powers of Irrigation Districts Enumerated
- Ch 70A.100 RCW - Public Water System Coordination Act of 1977
- Rules and Regulations - Washington State Department of Health
Fire Hydrant Service
- Ch. 70A.145 RCW - 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.
- A Guide for Financing and Rate-Setting Options for Small Water Systems, Andrea L. Williams. Special Report SR17-1999. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, November 1999
- Water Rates: Paying for Drinking Water, Washington Department of Health Fact Sheet, Publication No. 331-327 (2011)
- Connell Water and Sewer Rate Study RFP (2008)
- Royal City Water Rates (2022)
- Rate Studies
- Bainbridge Island Water and Sewer Rate Study (2019) - Includes ordinance adopting new rates
- North Beach Water District Water Rate Study (2008)
- Planning Requirements for Public Water Systems, Washington State Department of Health
- Sustainable Water Infrastructure, Environmental Protection Agency
- Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities, Environmental Protection Agency, 2012
- Water System Planning Handbook, Washington State Department of Health, April 1997 - Available only for purchase
- Sample Comprehensive Water System Plans
- Issaquah Water System Plan
- Lynnwood Water System Plan
- Seattle 2013 Water System Plan
- Spokane Six-Year Comprehensive Water Program 2006-11
- Tukwila 2015 Comprehensive Water Plan
Related MRSC Webpages
This section contains general resources and links to organizations which are involved in all aspects of domestic water, from regulation to supply.
- Technical, Managerial, and Financial Capacity Resources for Small Drinking Water Systems, US Environmental Protection Agency - Includes resources on a wide variety of subjects, including asset management, financing, regulations, and operation and maintenance.
- Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Funding Sources, 2013 Edition, Varela & Associates (Spokane)
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Washington State Department of Health
- Drinking Water Programs and Services
- Recommended References - includes links to multiple publications including references available from other health and water organizations
Water and Utility Organizations
- American Water Works Association
- Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA)
- Central Puget Sound Water Supplier's Forum
- Evergreen Rural Water of Washington - a non-profit organization serving the needs of small water and wastewater systems in Washington State
- National Rural Water Association
- Washington State Department of Health Drinking Water System Data - Lists public water supplies
- Water and Sewer Districts, MRSC
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 (See Joint Municipal Utility Services Agreement).
- 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 Water System - 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 (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