This page provides resources and sample documents for public water utilities in Washington State, with a particular emphasis on small water systems.
Domestic water is provided by a number of local government entities in Washington State, as noted in the list of applicable statutes below. The Office of Drinking Water, located in the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), maintains the rules and regulations for all water systems.
- 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
Fire Hydrant Service
The applicable statute is Ch. 70A.145 RCW, which 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.
In the 2008 case, Lane v. City of Seattle, 164 Wn. 2d 875, the Washington State Supreme Court determined that public fire protection was a governmental service that could not be recovered through water rates. The decision also validated alternate cost recovery consisting of charging general purpose governments for this public service based on their mandate for such service through land use regulation. The decision did not clarify how this would work in situations differing from the considered case.
Additional resources compliments of FCS GROUP:
- Fire Service Impacts on Water Utilities: Managing the Effect of Lane vs. City of Seattle (2008)
- Water Utilities and Fire Hydrants Legislative Update (2013)
Further posting, copying, or distributing of the above material is copyright infringement; contact FCS GROUP for additional permissions.
- DOH: Water Rates - Paying for Drinking Water (2011)
- Royal City Ordinance 21-11 (2022) — Sets water rates to be charged in the city.
Examples of Water Rate Studies
- Bainbridge Island Water and Sewer Rate Study (2019) — Includes ordinance 2019-14 adopting new rates.
- Connell Water and Sewer Rate Study RFP (2008)
- North Beach Public Development Authority Water Rate Study (2008)
- DOH: Planning Requirements for Public Water Systems
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Examples of Comprehensive Water System Plans
- Bainbridge Island Water System Plan (2017)
- Issaquah Water System Plan (2018)
- Pasco Water System Plan (2018)
- Renton Water System Plan Update (2020)
- Seattle Water Plans
- Yakima Water System Plan (2017)
- Utility Billing and Collection — Provides links to all of MRSC’s resources related to local government utility billing and collection in Washington State.
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
- Ground Water and Drinking Water
- National Drinking Water Advisory Council
- Technical, Managerial, and Financial Capacity Resources for Small Drinking Water Systems — Includes resources on a wide variety of subjects such as asset management, financing, regulations, and operation and maintenance.
Water and Utility Organizations
- American Water Works Association
- Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA)
- Evergreen Rural Water of Washington — Provides training and technical assistance to small water and wastewater systems in Washington State.
- National Rural Water Association
- DOH: Drinking Water System Data — Lists public water supplies.
- MRSC: Water and Sewer Districts — Lists water-sewer districts by county, with a brief description and notes about services areas, mergers, and dissolutions.
Regional Water Providers and Associations
- Clearview Water Supply Agency — Formed in 2005 by the Silver Lake Water District and the Cross Valley Water District to govern the operation and maintenance of the Clearview Pump Station, which 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
- Cascade Water Alliance — Formed by Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Tukwila, Sammamish Plateau Water, and Skyway Water & Sewer District. See Joint Agreement (2012).
- Seattle Public Utilities: List of Wholesale Water Customers
- South King County Regional Water Association — Formed in 1995 between Auburn, Kent, Black Diamond, and King County Water District No. 111.
- Tacoma Water — Provides water service to customers in Tacoma, University Place and portions of Pierce and South King counties.
- Water Supply Forum — Cooperative effort of representatives of public water systems and local governments in the Central Puget Sound region; Addresses current and future water supply issues.