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 5, 2011
Status: Completed

Yakima River Basin

The Yakima River flows 215 miles from the outlet of Keechelus Lake in the central Washington Cascades southeasterly to the Columbia River, draining an area of 6,155 square miles. The Yakima River Basin is one of the most intensively irrigated areas in the United States. Population in the Yakima River Basin was about 238,000 in 1990.

Increasing demands for water for municipal, fisheries...

Date published: January 3, 2011
Status: Completed

Columbia Plateau Groundwater Availability Study

The Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System (CPRAS) covers about 44,000 square miles of eastern Oregon and Washington and western Idaho. The primary aquifers are basalts of the Columbia River Basalt Group and overlying basin-fill sediments. Groundwater availability issues in the basin include: 1) widespread water-level declines caused by pumping, 2) reduction in base flow to rivers and...

Date published: January 2, 2011
Status: Completed

Quilcene Bay

In response to concerns that increased use of ground- and surface-water supplies in watersheds in Washington leaves insufficient in-stream flow for fish and other users, the Washington State legislature passed the Watershed Management Act of 1998, which encourages watershed planning at the local level. As part of this planning, stakeholders within a Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) need...

Contacts: Joseph Jones
Date published: January 2, 2011
Status: Completed

Bainbridge Island

Ground water is the sole source of drinking water for the City of Bainbridge Island in Kitsap County, Washington. As the population grows, demand for ground water grows, too. However, because ground water is limited by area and by the potential for seawater intrusion, the City recognizes in the Water Resources Element of its comprehensive plan that water resources must be carefully managed and...

Contacts: Lonna M Frans
Date published: January 2, 2011
Status: Completed

Chehalis River Basin

The Chehalis River flows approximately 125 miles in southwestern Washington north-northwesterly to Grays Harbor and the Pacific Ocean, draining an area of approximately 2,700 square miles. The Chehalis River Basin is the second largest basin in Washington State. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the Deschutes River Basin, on the north by the Olympic Mountains, and...

Date published: January 10, 2010
Status: Completed

Skagit Ground Water Model

State and local water-resource managers in Lower Skagit/Samish Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA-3) face two water-availability issues that are common throughout Washington State. First, they must reserve water for domestic wells that are exempt from the water rights system without harming river and stream ecosystems in the lower Skagit River basin. Skagit County, which would be responsible...

Date published: January 4, 2009
Status: Completed

Lower Bonaparte Springs

The Issue: The Confederated Colville Tribes are concerned with maintaining and enhancing endangered summer steelhead fish stocks in the Okanogan River and its tributaries. One Okanogan River subbasin of particular interest is Bonaparte Creek where almost 50 percent of the summer steelhead captured in 2008 were of natural rather than hatchery stock. The Colville Tribes are working to ensure...

Date published: January 5, 2008
Status: Completed

Potholes Reservoir

Managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), water is diverted from the Columbia River into Potholes Reservoir and the canal system for delivery to irrigators.

Through the USGS/USBR collaborative Watershed and River Systems Management Program (WARSMP), the USBR will be developing a river-management model to improve the efficiency of water distribution. An important input needed for...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 2, 2008
Status: Completed

Eastbank Aquifer near Rocky Reach Dam

Ground water from the Eastbank Aquifer system in north-central Washington is a regional water supply for about 50,000 people, as well as for a fish hatchery operated by the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD). The fish hatchery compensates for salmon and steelhead lost in the operation of two hydroelectric projects on the Columbia River owned by the PUD. The fish hatchery needs...

Date published: January 2, 2007
Status: Completed

San Juan County

Aquifers of the San Juan Islands, which are the principal source of fresh water, are commonly intruded by seawater at near-shoreline locations (less than one mile from the shore). Because the demand for ground water has escalated in recent years due to population growth and is expected to continue, the progression of seawater intrusion and areas most susceptible to future seawater intrusion...

Date published: January 3, 2006
Status: Completed

Salmon Creek Basin

Two reservoirs in the Salmon Creek Basin in north-central Washington store runoff from the upper basin for out-of-basin irrigation of farmlands. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), developed a precipitation-runoff model that simulates historical daily unregulated streamflows for different locations in the Salmon Creek Basin. The model...

Date published: January 1, 2005
Status: Completed

PNW Tribal Water Resources Assessment

Native American Tribes in western Washington need comprehensive water data in order to protect, restore, and manage their water resources. To understand the factors affecting water quality and quantity on a regional scale, the data must be collected and managed through a systematic, coordinated approach.

To help the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) to design a coordinated...