Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGO 1954 No. 324 - September 28, 1954
AGO Opinion Header Image
Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

GROUND WATER ‑- ARTIFICIAL STORAGE ‑- FILING OF CLAIM THERETO

An owner of artificially stored ground water who fails to file his declaration of claim thereto does not jeopardize his rights to said water where the supervisor of water resources of the State of Washington has not yet designated the ground water area.

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                              September 28, 1954

Honorable W. A. Galbraith
Director
Department of Conservation & Development
Transportation Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 324


Dear Sir:

            You have requested our opinion on whether an owner of artificially stored ground water who fails to file his declaration of claim thereto jeopardizes his rights to said water where the supervisor of water resources of the State of Washington has not yet designated the ground water area.

            Our answer to this question is in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 90.44.130 provides in part:

            "* * * he [supervisor of water resources] shall from time to time, as adequate factual data become available, designate ground water areas or subareas, * * *"

            RCW 90.44.160 provides in part:

            "Within ninety days after the designation of a ground water area, subarea or zone any person then claiming  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] to be the owner of artificially stored ground water within the area, subarea, or zone, shall file a certified declaration to that effect in the office of the supervisor on a form prescribed by the supervisor.  * * *" (Emphasis supplied)

            RCW 90.44.170 provides in part as follows:

            "Any person claiming to be the owner of ground water within a designated area, subarea, or zone by virtue of its artificial storage subsequent to such designation shall, within three years following the earliest artificial storage, file a declaration of claim in the office of the supervisor * * *"  (Emphasis supplied)

            The foregoing statutes provide that the supervisor of water resources shall designate ground water area as factual data becomes available; that within ninety days after the designation is made an owner of existing artificially stored ground water must file a claim thereto with the supervisor; that where claim exists to artificially stored ground water coming into existence after a designation has been made, the claim thereto must be filed within three years following its earliest storage.

            It is apparent that until a designation of the ground water area has been made by the supervisor, no duty exists on an owner to assert his claim to artificially stored ground water.  There being no duty to file in advance of designation, failure to file cannot jeopardize the rights of an owner thereto.

            In conclusion, an owner of artificially stored ground water who fails to file his declaration of claim thereto does not jeopardize his rights to said water where the supervisor of water resources of the State of Washington has not yet designated the ground water area.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


E. ALBERT MORRISON
Assistant Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo