Dungeness Water Exchange
The Dungeness River is the lifeblood of the Dungeness Valley, providing water for fish, for farms and for families. But now the river is running low. The Dungeness Water Exchange was created through an historic collaboration between Clallam County, Department of Ecology, the Dungeness Water Users Association, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, City of Sequim, Clallam PUD No.1, Clallam Conservation District, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Washington Water Trust.
These varied interests all recognize the importance of the Dungeness River. They created the Water Exchange to allow builders, homeowners and farmers to get the water they need to protect their investments while protecting the river for future generations. Put simply, the Exchange seeks to ensure that we put as much water back into the river as we take out.
DWE Mitigation Program-Costs and Quantities Unchanged by Hirst Legislation
You may have heard of the Washington State Legislature's recent passage of legislation-SB 6091 to address the Hirst Supreme Court Decision. Watersheds are addressed differently in SB 6091, depending on whether they have implemented a watershed restoration plan, have an existing instream flow rule and whether that rule addresses permit-exempt wells. The Elwha-Dungeness (WRIA 18) is a watershed which has a watershed plan, as well as an instream flow rule which addresses permit-exempt wells and a mitigation program for new water uses with the Dungeness Water Exchange. The Dungeness rule, DWE mitigation program, mitigation water quantities and mitigation certificates costs remain unchanged as a result of SB 6091. The one area in which Dungeness Rule Area is impacted by SB 6091, is that mitigation certificates issued after January 19, 2018 will be part of the Metering Pilot Program. DWE will be in contact with all certificate holders affected by this provision. Thank you all for your participation in the DWE.
The Dungeness Water Exchange has two key programs: restoration and mitigation
- Mitigation: The Exchange mitigation program is a “water bank” that allows new water users to purchase a certificate that meets state requirements for protecting the Dungeness River. The money raised by the certificates will go to purchase water from willing sellers. That water will go back into the river instead of being used for out of stream needs. The Exchange balances the need for water today with the need for water tomorrow and creates certainty for farmers and homeowners so they know they have enough supply to meet their basic needs.
- Restoration: The Exchange restoration program uses state and federal dollars to replenish local groundwater supplies and restore flows to the river to improve the overall ecological health of the watershed.
Washington Water Trust's Role
The Dungeness Water Exchange is a project developed in collaboration with local leaders and the Department of Ecology, which is charged with maintaining water quantity in all the state’s rivers and streams. Washington Water Trust was selected to manage the Dungeness Water Exchange because of its experience and expertise in running similar programs all across the state. We are all excited and optimistic that the Exchange signals a new era of collaboration along the Dungeness that allows members of community to help restore the river that has served them well for so many years.