(1) Existing and designated uses must be maintained and protected. No degradation may be allowed that would interfere with, or become injurious to, existing or designated uses, except as provided for in this chapter.
(2) For waters that do not meet assigned criteria, or protect existing or designated uses, the department will take appropriate and definitive steps to bring the water quality back into compliance with the water quality standards.
(3) Whenever the natural conditions of a water body are of a lower quality than the assigned criteria, the natural conditions constitute the water quality criteria. Where water quality criteria are not met because of natural conditions, human actions are not allowed to further lower the water quality, except where explicitly allowed in this chapter.
[Statutory Authority: Chapters 90.48 and 90.54 RCW. 03-14-129 (Order 02-14), § 173-201A-310, filed 7/1/03, effective 8/1/03.]