Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1956 NO. 238 >

Chapter 86.12 RCW, which is derived from chapter 204, Laws of 1941, empowers the various counties of this state to condemn land for and make culverts and waterways to alleviate flood conditions caused by "flood waters" only, but does not empower counties to alleviate flood conditions caused by "surface waters" comprising rain water moving across country and not coming from any definite source.  Expenditures for flood water improvements must be made out of a county river improvement fund and not out of the general or current expense fund. County road funds may not be used for drainage of private property within the county, except the county may provide adequate drainage for its roads which may incidentally benefit adjacent private property. Chapter 36.43 RCW does not give counties the power to drain private property within a county merely because county officials have issued building permit for such property.