Washington Water Trust

Freshwater Conservation

Washington Water Trust was founded in 1998 after two non-profit organizations, American Rivers and the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, wanted to pioneer a new way of restoring water to Washington’s rivers and streams. 150 years of settlement and development had left many rivers and streams across the state depleted of water, particularly during late summer when both humans and salmon need it the most. They decided to begin purchasing water rights from voluntary sellers to keep them instream.

More than 20 years and hundreds of water transactions later, it is safe to say that this approach is now the accepted standard. A sampling of their accomplishments includes:

  • Improved flows and fish habitat in over 1,000 river miles across more than 50 rivers and streams
  • The return of endangered salmon to two streams – Salmon Creek and Taneum Creek – for the first time in 70 years
  • Increased fish habitat by 50% in the Teanaway River. Fewer than 100 steelhead used to return to the entire Upper Yakima basin; steelhead spawning in the Teanaway alone now exceeds 100 fish.
  • The creation and operation of a water bank in the Dungeness River basin called the Dungeness Water Exchange ensuring that water for hundreds of new homes built since 2013 have had no negative impact on stream flows in the Dungeness River.

RELiON is proud to partner with such an innovative organization and we are excited to see how far they are able to take their recycled water program.