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 13, 2004
Status: Completed

Colville River Basin

The Colville River Basin is a 1,007-square-mile area located in Stevens County in northeastern Washington. Following the guidelines of Washington's Watershed Management Act of 1998, water-resource planning in the basin is being conducted within a Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA).

Local citizens representing a wide range of water resource interest groups, together with local, state...

Contacts: Sue Kahle
Date published: January 12, 2004
Status: Completed

Water Resources of the Tulalip Indian Reservation

Future increases in population and development of the Tulalip Indian Reservation and neighboring areas would lead to increased pumping of ground water both on and off the Reservation. Increased pumpage in coastal and inland wells may decrease baseflows of streams and could affect fish-rearing operations in the Tulalip Creek watershed.

Contacts: Lonna M Frans
Date published: January 11, 2004
Status: Completed

Puyallup Streamflow Trends

Covering about 28 square miles along the lower reaches of the Puyallup River in Pierce County, the Puyallup Indian Reservation is located in the lowest part of the basin. For this reason, all water-related activities in the basin affect the Puyallup Tribe of Indians' water resources and fish.

Because of their important links to the Puyallup River, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians want to...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: January 6, 2004
Status: Completed

GW/SW Interactions

Knowing the interactions of ground water and river water can help reduce the fluctuation of water supplies in alluvial (sediment-deposit) river basins.

To develop general principles of these interactions in order to identify and analyze them, the USGS is reviewing the results of the numerous studies of these interactions in Pacific Northwest basins. The review will describe common...

Date published: January 6, 2004
Status: Completed

Columbia Basin GWMA

More than 80 percent of drinking water in the mid-Columbia Basin comes from ground water. In Adams, Franklin, and Grant Counties, nitrate concentrations in water from about 20 percent of all drinking-water wells exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level for nitrate. The three counties jointly formed the Columbia Basin Ground Water Management Area (GWMA) in...

Contacts: Lonna M Frans
Date published: January 4, 2004
Status: Completed

GW Recharge

Hydrologists increasingly rely on computer watershed models to estimate groundwater recharge from precipitation on a regional scale. The model parameters used in simulations of recharge are various climatic, hydrologic, and physical characteristics of a watershed or stream basin. To date, the watershed models have not been evaluated to determine which model parameters are the dominant controls...

Date published: January 5, 2003
Status: Completed

Methow River Basin

The Methow River Basin, located in North Central Washington in Okanogan County, is well known for its natural beauty, wildlife, outdoor recreation, and rural lifestyle. The Methow River and its tributaries are home to upper Columbia summer steelhead and spring Chinook salmon, which are both listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and bull trout, which is listed as...

Date published: January 2, 2003
Status: Completed

Island County

Island County consists of two major islands, Whidbey and Camano, and lies in northern Puget Sound, north of Seattle. Whidbey Island has an area of about 165 square miles and Camano Island an area of about 45 square miles, for a total area of about 210 square miles. Ground water is the primary source of water on the islands, and the ground-water system is fairly well understood, due in part to...

Date published: January 14, 2002
Status: Completed


Located in northwestern Washington State, the Dungeness River and its tributaries drain about 200 square miles, mostly in the Olympic Mountains to the south. After emerging from the mountains, the river flows for about 11 miles northward across an area with a shallow water-table aquifer before emptying into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Water in the Dungeness River and the shallow aquifer are...

Date published: January 10, 2002
Status: Completed

White River Videography

The quantity and quality of instream habitat is one of many factors affecting aquatic organisms such as anadromous and non-anadromous salmonids. The measurement and assessment of instream habitat has been the focus of many habitat monitoring and restoration projects throughout the State of Washington. On-the-ground habitat monitoring is extremely important for specific variables and specific...

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: January 9, 2002
Status: Completed

Tule Lake

In some years, water is scarce in the Klamath Basin of southern Oregon and northern California, and resource managers need critical, accurate water information in order to allocate water for agricultural and natural-resource uses. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified one way of saving water for wildlife during dry years through reducing irrigation for crops grown on 17,000 acres...

Date published: January 3, 2002
Status: Completed

Howard A. Hanson Reservoir

The City of Tacoma relies on surface water stored in the Howard A. Hanson Reservoir, in the Green River Basin in King County, to meet municipal needs and demands. Reservoir managers must also consider how allocation and use of the resource are affected by ongoing activities in the basin associated with fisheries enhancement and by rules implemented under the Endangered Species Act for salmonid...

Contacts: Mark Mastin