Certified Water Rights Examiner

OEI now has the training and certification to help property owners, water system managers, and others complete the water rights process.

The Washington State Department of Ecology’s process for a new water right or a change to an existing right is summarized at the following links:



Water Rights Application Process

Prior to making an application, DOE strongly recommends that the applicant schedule a pre-application consultation meeting.  At this meeting, existing information regarding water availability, other applications pending in the same area, application requirements, and other information specific to your proposal will be discussed.

An application is then prepared based on the information shared at the pre-application meeting.  Ecology then reviews the application, requests additional information, then approves, partially approves, or denies the application.  Assuming an approval is obtained, the applicant then proceeds to construct the well or diversion needed.

Following approval of the application, construction of the well or diversion, and filing the Proof of Appropriation form, the final step in acquiring a water right is the Proof Examination, on which the final Water Right Certificate will be issued.  The Proof Examination is based on the approved permit, and requires a visit to your site by a Certified Water Rights Examiner to confirm that you’ve appropriated the correct quantity of water and that you have put it to use at the location and for the purpose outlined in your application and approval. 

When you contact Olson Engineering for a Proof Examination, OEI’s Certified Water Rights Examiner will:

  • Contact you for copies of your application materials
  • Confirm the details of your approval with the Department of Ecology
  • Work with you to schedule a site visit.  It is best if the applicant or other individual familiar with the operation of the entire system is present at the time of the site visit.
  • Review available information (aerial photography, permit materials, Proof of Application Form, etc.)
  • Visit the site to confirm that the construction or installation matches the permit and that the nature and location of water use matches the permit document.
  • Document the findings in a Proof Report of Examination and Recommendation and submit to the Department of Ecology.

If everything is in order, Ecology issues the Water Right and records it with the County Auditor’s office.  The certificate is then delivered to the new water right holder.

OEI can help you through any (or all) steps in this process.  Depending on the nature of your proposal, additional consultants (hydrogeologists, for example) may be needed; we will review your proposed system and notify you if this is the case.  In most cases, this can be determined before we even proceed with a proposal defining our scope and fees.

For questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact Chad McMurry, our Certified Water Rights Examiner, at (360) 695-1385.