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 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
Date published: January 5, 2001
Status: Completed

Water Resources Inventory Area 1 Watershed Management

In recent years, increased use of ground- and surface-water supplies in watersheds of Washington State has created concern that insufficient in-stream flows remain for fish and other users. In response, the Washington State legislature passed the Watershed Management Act of 1998 (ESHB 2514; see also Ch.90.82 RCW - Watershed Planning), which encourages and provides some funding for local...

Date published: January 3, 2001
Status: Completed

Puget Sound-Willamette Trough

More than 70 percent of the population of Washington and Oregon resides in the Puget Sound-Willamette Trough, which stretches north-south on the western side of the Cascade Range. The area is one of the principal regional ground-water systems in the Nation, but little is known about the quantity and quality of the ground water, the regional flow system, or the interaction of the system with...

Date published: January 3, 2000
Status: Completed

Elwha-Morse Watershed

Have increased demands for Washington State's ground water and surface water left sufficient stream flows for fish and other uses?

To find out, the state's Watershed Management Act of 1998 (ESHB 2514) confers on local people the responsibility for conducting local watershed planning.

The Elwha-Morse Watershed area was formed out of the western part of Water Resources Inventory...

Date published: January 2, 2000
Status: Completed

Pierce County Groundwater

The rapid growth of population in the Tacoma-Puyallup area in Pierce County has placed increasing demands on the ground-water resource. Most domestic water needs are met by wells completed in the several hundred feet of glacial deposits that underlie the area, and about 9,000 persons are served by a single spring on the southwestern side of Puyallup. Most of the population relies on individual...

Date published: January 1, 2000
Status: Completed

Probability Flows for Streams in Eastern WA

Under Washington regulations, bridges, culverts, and other stream-crossing structures need to be designed with fish passage in mind. For culverts, maximum flows cannot exceed a 10-percent exceedance probability flow (the flow that is equalled or exceeded 10 percent of the time) when fish are migrating upstream.

To help the Washington Department of Natural Resources manage its culverts...