Water right acquisitions improve streamflow through the retirement of an ongoing water use. In 2019 Spokane County submitted a grant application to purchase of five water rights within the Little Spokane River Basin. In lieu of awarding the grant, the Department of Ecology is directly purchasing the water rights. The water rights will be transferred into the State Water Rights Trust program specifically for the purpose of offsetting future permit-exempt domestic water use in WRIA 55.
Little Spokane Water Bank
Spokane County owns and operates the Little Spokane Water Bank. The bank is comprised of two water rights totaling 283 acre-ft/year held in the State Trust Water Rights Program. The water bank offsets new permit-exempt use in the same way as water right acquistions, but includes one additional step, the issuance of a mitigation certificate. Once a mitigation certificate is issued it is permanently dedicated to offsetting water use for a new permit-exempt use. The quantity of water held in the water bank represents the total potential quantity of water that could be used as a water offset and the quantity of water associated with mitigation certificates that have been sold represent the actual quantity of water that has been offset.