Spokane County, in conjunction with Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties, evaluated the use of a tri-county water bank to address existing and potential regulatory constraints on existing and new water use, in Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 55, the Little Spokane Watershed.
The feasibility study was completed in June 2015. Spokane County has since developed a water bank for a portion of WRIA 55, but it does not extend into Pend Oreille or Stevens Counties.
A water bank is an institutional mechanism that facilitates transfer of senior water rights between buyers and sellers. While individual parties can currently buy and sell water rights without a water bank, a water bank can reduce transaction costs and allow the distribution of one large water right to multiple small uses.
The feasibility study included seven (7) tasks:
Development of a Policy Advisory Group to guide and inform all aspects of the project
Evaluation of water bank structural and operational options
Evaluation of demand
Evaluation of supply
Development of an operational framework
Development of a final report
The project was funded by a grant from the Department of Ecology.