The Washington Department of Ecology is now accepting applications for $11.3 million in water banking grants, in an effort to protect local water supplies.
These grants are intended to help rural communities in headwater basins throughout the state preserve water supplies for local use.
These grants fund the purchase of existing water rights to create local water banks using Ecology’s Trust Water Right Program. One-third of each water right bought with this funding must be dedicated to instream use to support streamflows and aquatic resources.
Applications are now being accepted and can continue to be submitted until all funds are awarded or the opportunity closes on June 30, 2025.
Eligibility for grant funding is restricted to rural headwater counties including:
This is the second round of the Water Banking Pilot Grants.
During the first round, the Washington State Legislature provided $14 million for eligible water banking projects. The original funding opportunity closed on June 30. Previous grant recipients were:
- Chelan County Water Bank – $1,738,350
- Okanogan County Water Bank – $932,723
- Kittitas County Water Bank – in negotiations
In July, the Legislature reappropriated remaining funds from the original appropriation.
As demand for water increases statewide, supplies available for new water uses are increasingly scarce. As a result, market interest in existing water rights—buying, selling, and banking—has increased dramatically in recent years, leading to a number of high-profile water right purchases and transfers.
“The purpose of this funding is for local areas to buy water rights or portions of water rights at fair market value and keep them local. Water can be bought with this money now and banked to be used later. These water banking pilot grants are the first of their kind.” said Vanessa Brinkhuis, Grant Unit Supervisor.