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: 60
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...

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