PCHB addressed the issue of transferability of domestic water rights in the 1995 case of Knight v.
Ecology,(157) PCHB again addressed the domestic use exemption in a case involving issues strikingly similar to Green.
PCHB's opinions in Green and Schrum indicate that when the Department of Ecology is presented with an application for an exemption it has no discretion to deny that application.
While Green and Schrum appear to be inconsistent with the water code, PCHB's holding in Knight, relative to the nontransferability of exempt rights, is laudable.
In Green, PCHB essentially assigned the Department of Ecology a perfunctory duty to issue domestic permits memorializing any domestic use.(168) The water code assigns the Department of Ecology a higher duty--to protect Washington's precious water resources.
Schrum is a dichotomy.(169) On one hand, PCHB properly held that the Department of Ecology must deny permits, even for multiple domestic purposes, whenever withdrawals from groundwater threaten to impair hydraulically connected waters.
This opinion is consistent with PCHB's decision in the Knight case and with the exempt well statute.