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: 53
Date published: January 1, 2015
Status: Completed

South Fork Nooksack River Basin Groundwater and Surface-water 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
Date published: January 5, 2014
Status: Completed

Upper Kittitas County

The Issue: Baseflows in the tributary streams in the western portion of Kittitas County are important in the late summer and fall when demands on these streams peak. An ongoing USGS Yakima River basin study indicates that groundwater and surface water are interconnected, however the hydrogeologic framework and the potential impacts of groundwater withdrawals on tributary streamflow in the...

Date published: January 2, 2014
Status: Completed

Recharge and frozen ground in the PNW

The Issue: Seasonally frozen ground occurs over approximately one-third of the contiguous United States, and the extent and duration of frozen ground have been decreasing as a result of global warming. In semi-arid regions such as the Columbia Plateau and Snake River Plain in the Pacific Northwest, nearly all natural recharge occurs between October and March when intermittent...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 1, 2014
Status: Completed

Nooksack River Streamflow and Network Analysis

The Lummi Nation is partner to six USGS streamflow-gaging stations in the Nooksack River basin that measure streamflow in small streams. The Lummi Nation uses data from these stations to help manage its natural resources and has requested that the USGS analyze the available data record. As a result, the USGS is using streamflow data collected in and near the Nooksack River basin to develop...

Date published: January 3, 2013
Status: Completed

Little Spokane Hydrogeology

The Issue: Groundwater is an important resource for domestic, commercial, and agricultural usage in the Little Spokane River Basin, and groundwater discharge helps maintain streamflow in area streams. Consequently, as the population grows, and commercial and agricultural activity increase, so does the demand for groundwater. However, the quantity of usable groundwater, and the...

Contacts: Sue Kahle
Date published: January 1, 2013
Status: Completed

Chimacum GW Model

Projected increases in population and development in northeastern Jefferson County, Washington, are expected to lead to increased groundwater withdrawals in the Chimacum Creek Basin. Changes in land use and climate could reduce groundwater recharge, thereby reducing groundwater available for drinking and for baseflow to streams that host endangered fish species.

The USGS is developing...

Date published: January 1, 2013
Status: Completed

Consumptive Use

The Issue: Fresh groundwater withdrawals for irrigation from 66 principal aquifers in the United States comprised approximately three-fourths of total groundwater withdrawals in the year 2000. The magnitude of these withdrawals is certainly substantial but difficult to quantify because few states actually monitor groundwater withdrawals for irrigation. Water-resource managers...

Date published: January 1, 2012
Status: Completed

Chamokane Framework and Model

Chamokane Creek Basin is a 179-square-mile area that borders and partially overlaps the Spokane Indian Reservation in southern Stevens County in northeastern Washington State. In 1979, all water rights in the Chamokane Creek Basin were adjudicated by a Federal court, which gave senior, reserved water rights to the Spokane Tribe of Indians for irrigation and protection of fish in Chamokane...

Contacts: Sue Kahle
Date published: January 10, 2011
Status: Completed

NWIFC Water Assessment

Water resources are essential to Native American Tribes in western Washington for instream and out-of-stream uses. As the demand for water across the region increases, western Washington Tribes need critical information about water availability, water use, and ecological needs for water in order to manage their resources. To assess tribal water resources comprehensively in western Washington,...

Contacts:
Date published: January 6, 2011
Status: Completed

Johns Creek Framework

Located in Mason County in western Washington State, Johns Creek is an important producer of coho and chum salmon. In 1984, the Washington State Department of Ecology established an Instream Resources Protection Program for Water Resource Inventory Area 14 (WAC 173-514) to retain sufficient in-stream flow to protect fish and wildlife, scenic, aesthetic and other environmental values. This...

Date published: January 5, 2011
Status: Completed

Hood Canal

In September 2002, fish in Hood Canal near Hoodsport were under stress from low concentrations of dissolved oxygen, prompting the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to temporarily close parts of Hood Canal to some types of fishing during the month of October. In 2003, low dissolved oxygen conditions worsened, some fish kills were observed as early as June, and by October large...

Contacts: Rich Sheibley