Effective, July 8, 2008, the Washington Department of Ecology has adopted an emergency rule regulating and restricting the use of so-called “exempt” wells for domestic water supply within Upper Kittitas County. Ecology’s emergency rule institutes a partial withdrawal and restriction on use of ground water via exempt wells in the upper portion of the County in an effort to minimize the potential for interference with hydrologically connected flows in the Yakima River. The emergency rule adoption follows up on the recent Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) entered into between Ecology and Kittitas County regarding use of exempt wells for domestic supply. The MOU was entered into in response to a 2007 private party petition by a group known as Aqua Permanente to Ecology, requesting that Ecology withdraw all unappropriated ground water in Kittitas County from further appropriation pending further study of the effect of exempt wells on senior rights and on the Yakima River. The MOU and emergency rule have been pursued by Ecology in an effort to avoid such a drastic result. The implementation of the emergency rule will occur in part through the County land use permitting process. The emergency rule, and a proposal for a permanent rule-making on the issue by Ecology, will complicate residential construction within rural Kittitas County, and is potentially controversial as to the legal basis for the regulations. The text of the emergency rule and additional information on the rule implementation prepared by Ecology is available at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/cro/kittitas_wp.html.