Property owners are once again able to obtain approvals for water adequacy in Okanogan County, after a temporary moratorium brought about by the Hirst decision in 2016. The process can be completed either before or after a well is drilled. Applicants make their initial request through the Okanogan planning department, where the site is reviewed for legal availability. If it appears that the aquifer to be drawn from is legally available, the planning department publishes notice regarding the proposed withdrawal. If any member of the public has concerns regarding the impact of the proposed water use, a public hearing is set to review the information.
If the use is not contested, or there is no sufficient evidence set forth at the public hearing, then the planning department issues a determination of legal availability. Owners are then free to complete the water adequacy process with Okanogan County Public Health. This process includes the submission of a well log to prove a sufficient quantity of water to support a household and satisfactory analysis of water samples for coliform bacteria and nitrates.