The geography, rich soils, and significant precipitation in King County are great assets to farming. However, climate change brings weather swings that have caused significant flooding in the winter and severe drought in the summer. Preparing for floods, drainage projects, and water access are key to farming successfully. There are organizations and agency programs to support farmers in navigating these challenges.
Water Rights and Drainage
Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District
On December 7, 2015 the Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District (SVWID) was formed as an irrigation district under RCW Chapter 87.03 by a vote of 94% of the landowners in the district. This represented the culmination of a multi-year effort to find solutions to common water-related problems in the lower Snoqualmie Valley. The SVWID can help with buying, selling, and protecting water rights for farmers and landowners within the WID’s boundary. The SVWID is also working on integration solutions to drainage problems, working closely with ADAP and the King Conservation District. You can find our top priority basins listed on the website Contact Erin Ericson to discuss your drainage problems in the Snoqualmie Valley.
King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP)
Do you have an agricultural field with poor drainage? King County’s Stormwater Services can help. For information about King County’s drainage assistance programs, call the Drainage Program at 206-477-4811 or use this online form.
In 2012 King County partnered with farmers, regulators, tribes, fish interests, the King Conservation District and other parties to develop a comprehensive and effective approach to agricultural drainage. Our goal is to protect water quality and fish habitat while streamlining regulatory requirements, reducing county costs, and adequately draining fields for farming.
The resulting streamlined Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP) means that a property owner in an Agricultural Production District can comply with all local, state, and federal requirements for maintaining an agricultural waterway by:
- having an approved farm plan prepared in conjunction with the King Conservation District,
- following the ADAP best management practices and
- obtaining just one permit (a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) from WDFW, a free permit for agricultural drainage projects).
King County’s ADAP helps agricultural property owners improve drainage of their agricultural lands by providing technical assistance including engineering of drainage solutions; submitting permit application on behalf of landowner, or group of landowners; fish relocation during dredging construction; and aquatic buffer mitigation weed removal and native planting, where applicable.
King Conservation District (KCD)
KCD’s Agricultural Drainage Program provides services to assist farmers with maintaining and improving agricultural drainage systems. By providing both technical assistance and cost share funds, their aim is to enable more farmers to participate in the King County ADAP. KCD assists farmers with construction costs and project oversight.
Farm Pad Program
- Technical assistance - King County will provide technical assistance to help you locate and construct an elevated farm pad to store your livestock, farm machinery and other agricultural equipment and supplies. An annual application for assistance is due in March each year.
The Landowners Guide to Washington Water Rights, produced by the Department of Ecology, provides landowners and would be land buyers with a background on the basics of water rights in Washington State, and helps identify the right questions to ask when transacting in land.
Ecology’s Water Resources Explorer (Web Map) allows users to query and view data and documents relating to water rights and claims. The Web Map is an efficient tool for anyone researching water rights or water right claims, or seeking to obtain a water right in Washington State.
King County’s Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP)
WA State Department of Agriculture’s Farm Wisdom Video Series: Flood Preparation and Recovery