Senate Bill 6091 - WA residents can now drill new wells

Real Estate Agent with Windermere Peninsula Properties 106564

Washington State capital building with Mt Rainier in the background

NEWS FROM OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON yesterday is very good for Mason County rural land owners who want to dig a new well. Back-to-back votes ended a yearlong standoff created by the state Supreme Court’s Hirst ruling. Senate Bill 6091 received bipartisan support in both chambers and passed by comfortable margins, 35-14 in the Senate and 66-30 in the House.  Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement saying he will sign the Hirst bill. 

For those who have not kept up on this issue, the Washington Supreme Court's 2016 decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst (commonly known as the Hirst decision was based on the assumption that each new well draws water from streams and harms fish. The ruling left individual landowners in the position of having to prove otherwise.

The Hirst decision stemmed from a lawsuit brought by environmentalists over how Whatcom County was carrying out the Growth Management Act. It cast a doubt, however, over whether new wells would be allowed anywhere throughout the state.

“This bill provides a path forward for the people who just want to build on their few acres,” said Moses Lake Sen. Judy Warnick, the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee.

From where I sit at Windermere Peninsula Properties, selling land has been made difficult over the question of new buyer’s water rights.  Without some ruling to guide counties to authorize well drilling permits, land sales have been slowed.  With this question now resolved in favor of land owners, I predict 2018 will be a banner year to sell undeveloped land in Mason County

Comments (5)

Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Mike, good news for those in Washington needing a new well.   Good to get the word out.

Jan 23, 2018 03:41 PM
MIke Mostyn
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Belfair, WA
Casting a Wider Net

Thanks Joan.  Yes, it's really slowed land sales which I think will pick up this year.  Have a great season.

Jan 23, 2018 04:40 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes™- by eXp Realty - Vancouver, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

It's crazy how it has caused such a huge negative backlash - even in our County, people are totally confused as to what they can do with their land. 

Feb 19, 2018 01:32 PM


Oct 25, 2019 03:14 PM


Oct 25, 2019 03:14 PM