Kittitas County Emergency Response Information

Ground Water Withdrawal Moratorium by WA Department of Ecology for Upper Kittitas County July 2009

Kittitas County and the State of Washington, Department of Ecology (Ecology) spent two years working cooperatively, as late as July 8, 2009, to establish a permanent rule to manage exempt groundwater wells until more is known about the aquifers and water supplies in upper Kittitas County. The new rule would have established interim and long term management measures and calls for development of a comprehensive groundwater study. However, on July 16th, 2009, Ecology announced that they were unable to gain a commitment from the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners to move forward with a revised memorandum of agreement and alternative rule approach. Ecology filed an emergency rule that closes upper Kittitas County to all new groundwater withdrawals effective July 16, 2009 through November 13, 2009 and/or 120 days (for more information, see Background Information below).


Additional Information and Resources

Contact Information

Contact information for agencies that are available to answer questions related to the current Emergency Rule Chapter 173-539A WAC is as follows:

  • For questions about the implications of the moratorium or the Emergency Rule including use of existing wells, current intent to drill certificates from Ecology, or other water related questions, please contact the Department of Ecology staff at the following numbers:
    • Mark Schuppe (509) 454-4258
    • Melissa Downs (509) 454-4259
  • For questions related to Kittitas County's response to the moratorium, please contact Kittitas County Board of County Commissioners Office at (509) 962-7508.
  • For questions related to the location of parcels in the upper Kittitas County delineated area, please contact Kittitas County Community Development Services Department at (509) 962-7506.
  • For questions related to Public Water Systems including Group A and Group B Water Systems, please contact Kittitas County Public Health Department at (509) 962-7515.

Background Information

A private organization in Kittitas County, Aqua Permanente, submitted a petition to Ecology requesting a moratorium be imposed on use of new exempt wells in Kittitas County until sufficient information is known about potential effects from such wells on senior water rights and stream flows.

Ecology was required to act on the petition by November 9, 2007. On that date, the Parties entered into an Agreement in Principle for the development of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Based upon the Agreement in Principle, Ecology declined the request to categorically withdraw ground waters in Kittitas County from appropriation pending further study. The Agreement in Principle provided the framework for the MOA, including provisions for implementation of interim management strategies and development of a comprehensive ground water study and long-term management plan for the area known as upper Kittitas County. This MOA formalized obligations of the County and Ecology regarding those provisions.

Kittitas County and the Ecology entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on April 8, 2007 which established the basic principles to be employed in order to evaluate the use of exempt ground water well and associated water withdrawals.

  • Memorandum of Agreement between the State of Washington, Department of Ecology and Kittitas County regarding management of exempt ground water wells in Kittitas County


= posted within the last 48 hours.