70A.125.160  <<  70A.125.170 >>   70A.125.180

Water use efficiency requirementsRules.

(1) It is the intent of the legislature that the department establish water use efficiency requirements designed to ensure efficient use of water while maintaining water system financial viability, improving affordability of supplies, and enhancing system reliability.
(2) The requirements of this section shall apply to all municipal water suppliers and shall be tailored to be appropriate to system size, forecasted system demand, and system supply characteristics.
(3) For the purposes of this section:
(a) Water use efficiency includes conservation planning requirements, water distribution system leakage standards, and water conservation performance reporting requirements; and
(b) "Municipal water supplier" and "municipal water supply purposes" have the meanings provided by RCW 90.03.015.
(4) To accomplish the purposes of this section, the department shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section by December 31, 2005. The department shall:
(a) Develop conservation planning requirements that ensure municipal water suppliers are: (i) Implementing programs to integrate conservation with water system operation and management; and (ii) identifying how to appropriately fund and implement conservation activities. Requirements shall apply to the conservation element of water system plans and small water system management programs developed pursuant to chapter 43.20 RCW. In establishing the conservation planning requirements the department shall review the current department conservation planning guidelines and include those elements that are appropriate for rule. Conservation planning requirements shall include but not be limited to:
(A) Selection of cost-effective measures to achieve a system's water conservation objectives. Requirements shall allow the municipal water supplier to select and schedule implementation of the best methods for achieving its conservation objectives;
(B) Evaluation of the feasibility of adopting and implementing water delivery rate structures that encourage water conservation;
(C) Evaluation of each system's water distribution system leakage and, if necessary, identification of steps necessary for achieving water distribution system leakage standards developed under (b) of this subsection;
(D) Collection and reporting of water consumption and source production and/or water purchase data. Data collection and reporting requirements shall be sufficient to identify water use patterns among utility customer classes, where applicable, and evaluate the effectiveness of each system's conservation program. Requirements, including reporting frequency, shall be appropriate to system size and complexity. Reports shall be available to the public; and
(E) Establishment of minimum requirements for water demand forecast methodologies such that demand forecasts prepared by municipal water suppliers are sufficient for use in determining reasonably anticipated future water needs;
(b) Develop water distribution system leakage standards to ensure that municipal water suppliers are taking appropriate steps to reduce water system leakage rates or are maintaining their water distribution systems in a condition that results in leakage rates in compliance with the standards. Limits shall be developed in terms of percentage of total water produced and/or purchased and shall not be lower than ten percent. The department may consider alternatives to the percentage of total water supplied where alternatives provide a better evaluation of the water system's leakage performance. The department shall institute a graduated system of requirements based on levels of water system leakage. A municipal water supplier shall select one or more control methods appropriate for addressing leakage in its water system;
(c) Establish minimum requirements for water conservation performance reporting to assure that municipal water suppliers are regularly evaluating and reporting their water conservation performance. The objective of setting conservation goals is to enhance the efficient use of water by the water system customers. Performance reporting shall include:
(i) Requirements that municipal water suppliers adopt and achieve water conservation goals. The elected governing board or governing body of the water system shall set water conservation goals for the system. In setting water conservation goals the water supplier may consider historic conservation performance and conservation investment, customer base demographics, regional climate variations, forecasted demand and system supply characteristics, system financial viability, system reliability, and affordability of water rates. Conservation goals shall be established by the municipal water supplier in an open public forum;
(ii) Requirements that the municipal water supplier adopt schedules for implementing conservation program elements and achieving conservation goals to ensure that progress is being made toward adopted conservation goals;
(iii) A reporting system for regular reviews of conservation performance against adopted goals. Performance reports shall be available to customers and the public. Requirements, including reporting frequency, shall be appropriate to system size and complexity;
(iv) Requirements that any system not meeting its water conservation goals shall develop a plan for modifying its conservation program to achieve its goals along with procedures for reporting performance to the department;
(v) If a municipal water supplier determines that further reductions in consumption are not reasonably achievable, it shall identify how current consumption levels will be maintained;
(d) Adopt rules that, to the maximum extent practical, utilize existing mechanisms and simplified procedures in order to minimize the cost and complexity of implementation and to avoid placing unreasonable financial burden on smaller municipal systems.
(5) The department shall provide technical assistance upon request to municipal water suppliers and local governments regarding water conservation, which may include development of best management practices for water conservation programs, conservation landscape ordinances, conservation rate structures for public water systems, and general public education programs on water conservation.
(6) To ensure compliance with this section, the department shall establish a compliance process that incorporates a graduated approach employing the full range of compliance mechanisms available to the department.
(7) Prior to completion of rule making required in subsection (4) of this section, municipal water suppliers shall continue to meet the existing conservation requirements of the department and shall continue to implement their current water conservation programs.


Effective date2010 1st sp.s. c 26; 2010 1st sp.s. c 7: See note following RCW 43.03.027.
Severability2003 1st sp.s. c 5: See note following RCW 90.03.015.
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