Washington Water Science Center

Water Availability and Use

WAWSC scientists provide data and tools to State, Local, Tribal and Federal water managers to assist them in best allocating groundwater supplies while also meeting both instream and out-of-stream demands. We characterize local- to regional-scale aquifer systems, measure basin water budgets and interactions between groundwater and surface water, and develop numerical models to understand how extensively-managed hydrologic systems respond to changes. Issues being addressed include predicting the effects of alternative water-resource management strategies, conjunctive groundwater and surface-water uses, climate change, and growing water demands. We also are working to understand how these changes may affect saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers, and discharge of groundwater into stream, wetland, and estuarine habitats.

Filter Total Items: 51
Date published: March 8, 2018
Status: Active

Chambers-Clover Model

The Issue: In 1998, to address diminishing water availability and quality and the loss of critical habitat for fish and wildlife, Washington State enacted the Watershed Management Act. Under this Act, in the process of watershed planning for the Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed in Pierce County, Planning Unit members and partners uncovered gaps in data that would limit the...

Date published: January 29, 2018
Status: Active

Characterization and Numerical Simulation of the Puyallup River Watershed

Groundwater is an important resource for domestic, commercial, and industrial usage in the Puyallup River Watershed, and groundwater discharge helps maintain late-summer and early-fall streamflow (baseflow) in many area streams. Consequently, as the population grows, and commercial and industrial activity increase, so does the demand for groundwater. However, the quantity of usable groundwater...

Date published: January 26, 2018
Status: Active

Quincy Groundwater

The Issue: Since 1952, water diverted from the Columbia River for irrigation in parts of the Quincy Subarea in eastern Washington has resulted in rising groundwater levels and increased groundwater flows and storage. Managers of groundwater in the area need a better understanding of the flow system before and after the start of irrigation.

How the USGS will help...

Contacts: Sue Kahle
Date published: January 1, 2018
Status: Active

Water use

The Issue: Comprehensive water-use data and analysis of water-use information are needed to quantify the stress on existing supplies and to better model and evaluate possible water-supply management options to supplement traditional water-supply approaches. Advances have been made in the ability to control, divert, and develop water, but little attention has been paid to...

Date published: January 4, 2017
Status: Completed

Spokane Valley - Rathdrum Prairie

The Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, which extends across Idaho and Washington, is the sole source of drinking water for more than 450,000 people. Recently submitted water-rights requests would substantially increase withdrawals from the aquifer. The public and state resource management agencies need an improved understanding of the SVRP hydrologic system in order to ensure appropriate...

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Quinault Groundwater

The Issue: Located on the north coast of Washington within the Queets-Quinault Watershed, the Quinault Indian Nation's coastal communities rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water. Climate change can directly affect groundwater throughout the watershed, particularly worrisome in vulnerable coastal aquifers. The Quinault Indian Nation will be collecting...

Contacts: Sue Kahle
Date published: October 1, 2016
Status: Active

Mason County

The Issue: Groundwater is an important resource for domestic, commercial, and industrial usage in Mason County, and groundwater discharge helps maintain late-summer and early-fall streamflow (baseflow) in many area streams. Consequently, as the population grows, and commercial and industrial activity increase, so does the demand for groundwater. However, the quantity of usable...

Date published: January 1, 2016
Status: Completed

Kitsap Groundwater Model

The Issue: Groundwater provides a major source of drinking water for the population of the Kitsap Peninsula. Consequently, as the population grows, so does the demand for groundwater. However, the quantity of usable groundwater is limited, largely because the Peninsula is bounded by seawater and the potential for water-level declines and seawater intrusion increases as groundwater usage...

Contacts: Lonna M Frans
Date published: January 1, 2016
Status: Completed

Raging River Temperature

The Issue: Large, in-channel wood that helps to create and maintain healthy aquatic habitat in rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest was removed from many rivers in the past. In 2009, King County put wood back into the river to restore the Raging River watershed. To guide the county's restoration of the Raging River watershed, managers need to know the effect of restoration...

Date published: January 1, 2016
Status: Completed

Pasco Groundwater Storage

The Issue: Since 1952 water diverted from the Columbia River has been used to irrigate parts of the Pasco basin in eastern Washington. As a result of the surface-water irrigation, groundwater levels generally have risen in the area. The increases in groundwater fluxes and groundwater in storage have created a need to better understand the flow system before and after the start...

Contacts: Sue Kahle
Date published: January 1, 2015
Status: Completed

South Fork Nooksack River Basin GW/SW Interactions and Processes

High water temperatures and low instream flows during the summer have been identified as some of the key limitations for the viability of South Fork Nooksack River salmon populations including summer and spring-run Chinook salmon. Restoration strategies including the placement of engineered log jams, the restoration of floodplains and wetlands, and instream flow negotiation have been developed...

Date published: January 1, 2015
Status: Completed

White River Bioenergetics

The White River Basin is located in western Washington and drains an area of about 500 square miles. Rivers in the White River Basin are fed by melt water from glaciers on Mt. Rainier, runoff from snowmelt and rain, and groundwater discharge. Beginning in the early to mid-twentieth century, the White River from river mile (RM) 9 to its confluence with the Puyallup River was extensively...

Contacts: Robert W Black