Dungeness Water Exchange
Who We Are
The Dungeness Water Exchange (DWE) is a mitigation program that balances the need for water today with the need for water tomorrow.
Who We Are
We are a mitigation program advised by a diverse group of local stakeholders. DWE allows new water users in the Dungeness Water Rule Area to purchase a certificate that meets state requirements for protecting the Dungeness River while growing our community. We seek to ensure that we put as much water back into the river as is taken out through new homes and water uses.
How DWE Started
DWE was developed in 2013 with a local group of stakeholders -the DWE Advisory Committee- in response to state regulation which limits new water uses in the Dungeness Water Rule Area. The Advisory Committee members recognized the importance of building a robust program that protects the Dungeness River while also providing water for new uses such as homes and businesses.
DWE has mitigated the impacts of more than 400 new homes and small businesses in the Dungeness Rule Area, allowing our community to sustainably grow and providing permanent water certainty for these new uses while protecting the river.
Existing and new mitigation projects are developed and refined to ensure the permanent security of these new uses and balanced water management. Read below to see the kinds of work we do.
What We Do
In 2013, the state recognized that the Dungeness River and nearby streams were vulnerable to further depletions and issued the Dungeness Water Rule (WAC 173-518). The Rule requires that any new water use in the Rule Area must demonstrate that it has no impact on the rivers and streams, or is fully mitigated. DWE manages mitigation projects which offset new uses, resulting in a streamlined permanent mitigation program through which homeowners or builders can efficiently purchase mitigation certificates.
Sunny Skies Impact Our Water Supply
The Olympic Peninsula is generally known for its wet rainforests, but the Dungeness Valley is in the Olympic Rain Shadow. The Olympic mountains effectively trap rain from reaching Sequim and as a result, Sequim gets as little rain as desert-like areas in Eastern Washington. Less rainfall, more homes, less snowpack in the mountains, and agricultural irrigation all contribute to a more vulnerable river that we need to protect for future generations.
How We Mitigate
A DWE certificate means that your home has a net zero impact on the local water supply of your neighbors, streams and salmon.*
* When Certificate Requirements are met
DWE replenishes groundwater through the recharge program, designed to return the same amount of water to our streams and rivers as is taken out by new water uses
One type of the mitigation projects DWE operates are aquifer recharge sites. These sites strategically replenish groundwater and local streams that are depleted by new well withdrawals. In times of abundant water, the sites are used to infiltrate and create additional restoration to the watershed.
Working Together to
Ensure Water For All
Washington Water Trust
Washington Water Trust is a water conservation non-profit organization dedicated to restoring streamflows and advancing sustainable water management. WWT manages the not-for-profit Dungeness Water Exchange, a program advised by diverse local entities encompassed on the DWE Advisory Committee.
DWE Advisory Committee
The Dungeness Water Exchange was created through a historic collaboration between Clallam County, Department of Ecology, the Dungeness Water Users Association, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, City of Sequim, Clallam PUD No.1, Clallam Conservation District, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Washington Water Trust. These groups now serve on an DWE Advisory Committee.