Seattle Public Utilities Ray Hoffman, Director

Water Service Application

Client Assistance Memo 1202

Projects that need a Water Service Application

Any property owner who wants a new connection to Seattle’s water supply system or to upgrade their existing water service needs to complete a water service application and agreement.

Water Service Application and Agreement

A water service application and agreement is a binding agreement between SPU and a customer regarding the installation and maintenance of a water service line on a specific property. Any property owner who wants a new connection to Seattle’s water supply system or to upgrade their existing water service must agree to the rules and regulations of this agreement. Residential and commercial customers must obtain a water availability certificate (pdf) before requesting a water service application and agreement.

Purpose of the Water Service Application and Agreement

SPU wants to ensure that:

  • The customer account is set up properly;
  • The property owner acknowledges financial responsibility for the purchase of a new service connection, the installation of a service line and any outstanding combined utility charges;
  • The property owner acknowledges their responsibility for the maintenance, repair or replacement of the water service line from the City union to the building served;
  • The property owner acknowledges that the City can shut off water service without notice; and
  • The property owner acknowledges their responsibility for the costs associated with any street or sidewalk restoration required when installing new service.

Regulation of Water Services

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 supplies in WAC Chapter 246-290.

Information Provided by the Property Owner

Applicants agree to provide:

  • A legal description of the property involved;
  • The location and size of the water service required;
  • The purpose of the water at the property;
  • Payment for new water service and connection;
  • Payment for any outstanding combined utility charges;
  • All approved plans and permits when required;


  • Plan requirements include:
  • Scale 1” = 20’
  • Existing and proposed water mains and other existing and proposed underground utilities. Include a profile (cut) that shows the depth of each existing and proposed utility.
  • 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 of each proposed meter).
  • Property lines, right-of-way lines, area ways, street center lines, and dimensions to established reference lines.
  • Plan signed and stamped by a Washington State licensed engineer or surveyor.

Responsibilities of the Property Owner

  • Obtain an approved water availability certificate prior to any start of work.
  • Complete a water service application and agreement prior to any start of work.
  • Obtain any required easements or permits before connecting water to a property.
  • Install appropriate back-flow prevention devices.
  • Install and maintain the service line from the City union to the building.
  • If additional domestic water meters are needed, subdivide the property and have individual addresses assigned, or purchase sub-meters from a third party provider.
  • Meet all Fire Department standards for the property.
  • Call SPU to inspect any new or modified service lines or back-flow prevention devices outside the building. All work must remain exposed until the inspection has been completed!
  • All work must meet the International Plumbing Code, IAPMO Installation Standards and Seattle Amendments relating to the inspection and approval of building supply piping.

Before Buying a Property for Development

Before purchasing property for development in the City of Seattle or in an SPU service area, verify that water service is available for the project. In most cases, SPU can issue a Water Availability Certificate even before the property is purchased. If a private water service line must pass through a neighboring property, a recorded easement is required prior to ordering a new water service line. If an easement is not obtained, then water is unavailable.

Obtaining New or Upgraded Water Service

  • Apply for a water availability certificate (pdf).
  • Set up an appointment with the DSO project lead to order water service. (Bring a copy of your water availability certificate for the property and specific information about how the water service will be used on the property.)
  • Submit plans electronically, or three copies of the proposed water service plans to SPU Utility Service Teams. If possible, submission of electronic copies of plans (PDFs) are preferred.
  • Pay for all water services and fees.
  • Mark the location for the new water service at the property.
  • Check to see if cross-connection and pressure reducing fixtures are needed.
  • Comply with all Fire Department requirements.
  • Install water service to the City’s union only.
  • Request an SPU inspection of all new or replaced water service piping or any back-flow prevention devices outside the building before the work is covered.

Reduce Delays

  • Do not assume that each property has access to water. Just because other properties in a neighborhood have water does not mean that water service is available to your property. In some cases, the customer might have to make significant improvements to the existing infrastructure to obtain additional service.
  • Changes to a project after a water availability certificate is issued can result in delays or additional costs to your project. Check with the project lead to determine whether project changes will affect your request for water service.
  • Remember to request a water availability certificate even if a project requires an increased amount of water usage. Property owners need to verify that SPU can provide the increased volume of water to that site.
  • Remember to notify SPU when an extra water service is required. For example, a separate or larger water service is required for a fire sprinkler system. Note that each water service line needs a water meter.
  • Do not install water services in driveways or within five feet of trees.


Useful Links

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) supplies water 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.

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.