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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.

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. The Office of Drinking Water, located in the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), maintains the rules and regulations for all water systems.

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.

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Water Rates

Examples of Water Rate Studies


Examples of Comprehensive Water System Plans

Related MRSC Webpages

  • Utility Billing and Collection — Provides links to all of MRSC’s resources related to local government utility billing and collection in Washington State.

Recommended 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

Water and Utility Organizations

Water Providers 

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.

Last Modified: October 13, 2023