WRIA 1 Water Rights Adjudication Resources


Whatcom County Public Works
311 Grand Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225

On May 1, 2024, the Washington State Department of Ecology filed a water rights adjudication with the Whatcom County Superior Court. This water adjudication covers all of Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 1 Nooksack Basin, including the entire Nooksack River watershed as well as nearby Bellingham Bay, Birch Bay, Chuckanut, Drayton Harbor, Lake Whatcom, Lummi Bay, Point Roberts, and Sumas River watersheds, which comprise the majority of incorporated and unincorporated Whatcom County.

The Washington State Legislature has provided funding to Whatcom County to develop and implement outreach and provide filing assistance to the water users involved. Whatcom County Public Works is the department administering this assistance.

Use the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Subscription Manager to sign up for the WRIA 1 – Nooksack Adjudication e-newsletter.
Visit the Department of Ecology’s WRIA 1 Adjudication Website.
Contact the Department of Ecology at 360-255-4406 or email WRadjudications@ecy.wa.gov for more information.
Whatcom Conservation District’s Historical Scanned Aerials web map includes aerial photos from 1943 to 1995. These are helpful to show historic agricultural use.
Whatcom County Public Works is working with a consultant to develop a water use estimator for domestic and agricultural water use. The link to the water use estimator will be posted here once it is complete (anticipated in June).
Additional instructions to aid water users in collecting information for the adjudication court claim form will be posted here (anticipated this summer).
See the Whatcom County Water Adjudication Guidance webpage for a summary of the initial phase of the court process.