Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, Director

Get a New Water Service

Client Assistance Memo 1202

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) supplies fresh, clean water daily to 1.3 million people in the region. Nearly all this water is from the 90,000-acre Cedar River Watershed and the 13,300-acre South Fork Tolt River Watershed in eastern King County. Our goal is to provide a reliable source of high-quality drinking water, while protecting the environmental resources of our watersheds.

All new water services or changes to existing water services within SPU’s direct water service area are regulated and approved by SPU. This includes the City of Seattle, unincorporated King County, the cities of Shoreline, Burien, Renton, and Lake Forest Park.

Check for water availability before developing a property

Before developing a property in the City of Seattle or in an SPU-direct water service area, verify that water service is available for the parcel. To help determine if your parcel has adequate water service, you can request a water availability certificate (pdf) from SPU. You can also do your own preliminary research online using the Development Services Office Research Map.

Don’t assume that each property has access to water. Just because other properties in a neighborhood have water service doesn’t mean that adequate water service is available to your property. In some cases, you might have to make significant improvements to the existing infrastructure to obtain additional service. Examples include extending a standard water main or installing a fire hydrant.

How do I get a new water service or change an existing water service?

1. Apply for a water availability certificate

The first step is to apply for and receive an approved water availability certificate (pdf) (WAC). Refer to CAM 1201 for more information.

After you receive an approved WAC, you can apply for a new water service or change an existing water service.

2. Complete a water service application and agreement

The application is a binding agreement between SPU and a property owner. Any property owner who wants a new connection to Seattle’s water supply system or to change their existing water service must agree to the rules and regulations of this agreement. You will need to provide a completed water service application & agreement form (pdf).

  1. If you have additional water services (such as a short plat or unit lot subdivision), complete an addendum to add additional water service (pdf) for each of the assigned addresses. A separate application is not required for each address.
  2. Provide a right-of-way (ROW) permit number.
    • In Seattle, a Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Street Use Permit or Street Improvement Permit is required.
    • If outside of Seattle, contact your local jurisdiction to obtain a ROW permit.

3. Prepare a utility site plan

In order to prevent delays in processing your application, make sure the following information is clearly provided on the site plan:

  • Site plan must be drawn to scale (minimum 1 inch = 10 feet).
  • Existing and proposed water mains and other existing and proposed underground utilities.
  • Improvements such as existing and proposed curbs and sidewalks, structures, landscaping, trees, and any natural amenities.
  • Existing and proposed water meters, fire hydrants, and other surface improvements. (Clearly show the size and location, described by footage from the private property line, of each proposed meter).
  • Property lines, right-of-way lines, easements, area ways, street center lines, and dimensions to established reference lines.
  • Obtain any required easements documents recorded by King County (private or public).

For 2 inch and greater water services only (or as required):

  • A profile (cross-section) that shows the depth of each existing and proposed utility.
  • Plan signed and stamped by a Washington state licensed engineer or surveyor.

4. Pay your invoice

After completing the steps above, you will receive an invoice via email. Pay your invoice following the payment instructions on the second page of your invoice.

  1. For new water services or changes to your existing 2 inch or less service, invoices are based on a standard menu of charges.
  2. For new water service connections or changes to your existing 4 inch or greater water service, invoices are based on-site specific costs, which delays the invoice generation by approximately 2 weeks.

5. SPU installs your water service

After the invoice is paid, SPU will generate a work order for the field crews to install your water service in the ROW. The SPU crew chief will coordinate the installation with the primary project contact.

6. Install the private water line and associated backflow protection

The property owner is responsible to install and maintain the private water line and any required backflow protection equipment from the city union to the building’s plumbing connection.
Note: Step 6 can occur before Step 5 based on your construction schedule.

  • To avoid possible delays and additional costs, call (206) 684-3536 for assistance in determining if backflow protection is required for your water service connection(s).

7. Confirm compliance with regulations

  • After you install the private water line, ensure you meet the all requirements as defined in the most current versions of the Uniform Plumbing Code (pdf) and Washington State code for cross connection control:
    1. Before covering, call (206) 684-5800 to request an inspection of the underground water service lines on property after installation.
    2. After underground water lines are connected and where backflow protection was required, call (206) 684-3536 to schedule a backflow inspection.
  • Ensure that you meet all fire department standards for the property.

8. Multiple service flow test

If multiple services for one project are purchased (or existing), contact your project lead or the Development Services Office to request a multi-service flow test. This inspection is in addition to any and all other inspections that are required when establishing a new or renewal of water service(s) on property where 2 or more services exist or have been installed. This requirement generally applies to a project that is associated with a unit lot subdivision.

You are responsible for:

  1. Providing legal addresses assigned to your project.
  2. Providing locations of meters (if not directly located at the frontage of the property).
  3. Scheduling an appointment with a utility service inspector (USI).
    • Call (206) 684-5803 from 8 - 9 a.m. to schedule an on-site same-day appointment (appointments will have a window of no less than 2 hours).
    • You or your representative will be required to be on-site during a scheduled appointment to provide assistance and access to the property, hose bibs, removal of debris over meter boxes, etc.
    • If you fail to keep your scheduled appointment, a second trip assessment fee of $210 will be added to your account.

How to reduce delays

  • Changes to your approved utility site plan must be approved prior to SPU’s field crew scheduling the first field visit. Contact your project lead as early as possible if you have revisions to your approved utility plan.
  • Changes to a project after a WAC is issued, particularly changes in lot configuration, require a new WAC which can result in delays or additional costs to your project.
  • WACs expire 18 months from the date of issue. Be sure your WAC is valid when applying for a water service.
  • Remember to notify SPU when an extra water service is required, such as a fire or irrigation service. Each separate water service line needs a water meter.

How are water services regulated?

Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) outlines water rates and regulations in SMC Chapter 21.04.

The State of Washington defines basic regulatory requirements to protect the health of consumers using public drinking water in WAC Chapter 246-290.


For more information, contact a project lead at or call (206) 684-3333.

Useful links

Legal disclaimer

This Client Assistance Memo (CAM) should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. The applicant is responsible for compliance with all code and rule requirements, whether or not described in this CAM.