In January 2013, the state Department of Ecology approved the Dungeness Water Rule. It requires all owners of new permit-exempt wells in the area to purchase mitigation certificates from the Dungeness Water Exchange (administered by Washington Water Trust), install meters, and it sets limits on water use.

The Water Rule basically establishes a water right for streams in eastern Clallam County, which is senior to new water uses in the watershed but junior to all previously established water rights, including permit-exempt wells that were in use prior to the rule.

In January 2018, the Washington State Legislature passed legislation that provided funding for two ten-year well metering pilot projects: one in the Dungeness and the other in Kittitas County. These two areas were selected because metering of new wells was already required and underway in their water rule areas. The legislature’s intent was to determine the costs and feasibility of well metering for other water rule areas of the state, which as a result of a 2016 Washington Supreme Court ruling, will likely require metering of new wells. Clallam Conservation District is administering the new well metering pilot project for the Dungeness.

Following a request for proposals for a well meter and meter system vendor, MetronFarnier was selected. The new meters are cellular-read, thus eliminating the need for manual readings. The meters record flow data throughout the day and then during the night, upload the data to WaterScope, an analytics portal.

All previously installed meters are in the process of being replaced by Brothers Plumbing at no cost to homeowners. Beginning in July, meters for new mitigation certificate buyers are being provided by the district at no cost. It will be up to the homeowner or their contractor to install the meter; however, the district will reimburse up to $200 for installation.

Homeowners will receive instructions on how to go online to access WaterScope and review their meter data. In addition, the Department of Ecology and Washington Water Trust will have access to the data.

The well metering pilot project only applies to homeowners that are subject to the Dungeness Water Rule, thus have water use restrictions. No one will be charged for their water use.

More resources coming soon . . .