Marsh Creek

Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program

Credit: Marisa Chappell Photography

The Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program (CBWTP) was developed in 2002 to address chronically diminished stream flows in tributaries of the Columbia River.


The native fish species of the Columbia River Basin rely on the healthy flow of rivers and streams for their survival, resilience and persistence. But stretches of many streams and rivers in the Basin run low -- and sometimes dry -- in summer and early fall because of legal water withdrawals. Inadequate stream flows, often the result of competing out-of-stream water uses like crop irrigation, are a key factor limiting the productivity of Pacific salmon, steelhead trout, and a host of resident fish species.

Columbia Basin Water Transaction Program logo

To enhance stream flow, the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program (CBWTP) works through locally based entities to acquire water rights voluntarily from willing landowners. Using temporary and permanent water rights acquisitions and other incentive-based approaches, the CBWTP supports grantees in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana to assist landowners who wish to voluntarily restore flows to key fish habitat. Voluntary, market-based water transactions provide an effective and fair way to balance out-of-stream water uses with the need to maintain stream flow for imperiled fish.

From 2002 to 2020, the CBWTP has completed over 640 water right transactions, which have restored over 2.1 million acre-feet of water to key tributary streams in the Columbia Basin. Funding for this program is provided by Bonneville Power Administration in cooperation with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and with support from Altria.

Application Information

05/12/2023 Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program 2024 Request For Proposals - CLOSED View Now
04/13/2021 Flow Restoration Accounting Framework View Now
04/13/2021 Water Transaction Process View Now
02/06/2023 2021 Annual Report Download the PDF
12/02/2021 2020 Annual Report Download the PDF
11/17/2021 2020 Annual Report Appendix View Website
11/17/2021 2019 Annual Report Download the PDF
09/03/2021 2019 Annual Report Appendix Download the PDF
04/29/2021 Independent External Eval of the CBWTP Download the PDF
04/27/2021 QA - Support for Transaction Monitoring & Evaluation Effectiveness Download the PDF
12/03/2019 Flow Restoration Accounting Framework Download the PDF
01/16/2020 2018 Annual Report Download the PDF
12/03/2019 2018 Annual Report Appendix Download the PDF
12/03/2019 2017 Annual Report Download the PDF
Staff Representatives

Program Director, Western Water

Manager, Pacific Northwest Watersheds

Coordinator, Western Water