Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

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: 58

Hydrogeologic framework near the Yakima Training Center, Washington

The Issue: The Yakima Training Center (YTC)—spanning Yakima and Kittitas counties in south-central Washington—is a satellite installation of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is used for military training (fig. 1). Past activities at the YTC have resulted in releases of hazardous waste and contaminants to the environment, and the most recent chemical of concern is per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances...
link

Hydrogeologic framework near the Yakima Training Center, Washington

The Issue: The Yakima Training Center (YTC)—spanning Yakima and Kittitas counties in south-central Washington—is a satellite installation of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is used for military training (fig. 1). Past activities at the YTC have resulted in releases of hazardous waste and contaminants to the environment, and the most recent chemical of concern is per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances...
Learn More

Groundwater Model Support for Underground Injection Control Analysis, Clover Creek Watershed

The Issue: In Pierce County, Washington, much of the stormwater runoff is managed by underground injection control (UIC) structures, such as dry wells, infiltration trenches, and catch basins. Stormwater is directed into UIC structures to prevent poor-quality water from entering streams. This is good for stream health because stormwater is directed away from streams and into the ground, but there...
link

Groundwater Model Support for Underground Injection Control Analysis, Clover Creek Watershed

The Issue: In Pierce County, Washington, much of the stormwater runoff is managed by underground injection control (UIC) structures, such as dry wells, infiltration trenches, and catch basins. Stormwater is directed into UIC structures to prevent poor-quality water from entering streams. This is good for stream health because stormwater is directed away from streams and into the ground, but there...
Learn More

Updated classifications of flow permanence on streams in the Colville National Forest

The Issue: Streamflow permanence refers to the probability that a stream will lose surface flow (become a dry channel), as well as the timing, duration, and frequency of drying. Patterns of streamflow permanence drive important decisions regarding forest management and other land uses. The Colville National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (2019), for example, specifies riparian management...
link

Updated classifications of flow permanence on streams in the Colville National Forest

The Issue: Streamflow permanence refers to the probability that a stream will lose surface flow (become a dry channel), as well as the timing, duration, and frequency of drying. Patterns of streamflow permanence drive important decisions regarding forest management and other land uses. The Colville National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (2019), for example, specifies riparian management...
Learn More

Analysis of USGS Surface Water Monitoring Networks

The issue: National interests in water information are important but challenging to incorporate into planning and operation of a monitoring network driven by local information needs. These interests include an understanding of the spatial variability in water availability across the United States, anthro-physical factors including climate and land use that affect water availability, and federal...
link

Analysis of USGS Surface Water Monitoring Networks

The issue: National interests in water information are important but challenging to incorporate into planning and operation of a monitoring network driven by local information needs. These interests include an understanding of the spatial variability in water availability across the United States, anthro-physical factors including climate and land use that affect water availability, and federal...
Learn More

Aquifer Recharge Study and Water-Budget Components of San Juan County, Washington

The Issue: San Juan County encompasses an archipelago within the Salish Sea between the southeastern end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Skagit and Whatcom Counties on mainland western Washington. Although the year-round population is generally small (approximately 16,000 in 2010), there is an ever-growing influx of visitors to the scenic islands especially during the summer months. An...
link

Aquifer Recharge Study and Water-Budget Components of San Juan County, Washington

The Issue: San Juan County encompasses an archipelago within the Salish Sea between the southeastern end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Skagit and Whatcom Counties on mainland western Washington. Although the year-round population is generally small (approximately 16,000 in 2010), there is an ever-growing influx of visitors to the scenic islands especially during the summer months. An...
Learn More

Aquifer Recharge Area Study of Guemes Island

The Issue: Guemes Island is an 8.2-square-mile island in the northern part of Puget Sound in western Washington State. The population of the island is increasing, as is the demand for groundwater, which is the island's sole source of freshwater. Continued growth and development of the island, particularly in nearshore areas, has led to the increasing failure of nearshore wells due to seawater...
link

Aquifer Recharge Area Study of Guemes Island

The Issue: Guemes Island is an 8.2-square-mile island in the northern part of Puget Sound in western Washington State. The population of the island is increasing, as is the demand for groundwater, which is the island's sole source of freshwater. Continued growth and development of the island, particularly in nearshore areas, has led to the increasing failure of nearshore wells due to seawater...
Learn More

Drought preparedness in Mt. Rainier National Park

The Issue: Water supply for park operations and backcountry users is determined by the spatial extent of perennial streams in Mount Rainier National Park (MORA). In addition, the presence or absence of streamflow (flow permanence) is related to water temperature, which influences the occurrence and distribution of aquatic species including cold-water fishes and insects. Information about the...
link

Drought preparedness in Mt. Rainier National Park

The Issue: Water supply for park operations and backcountry users is determined by the spatial extent of perennial streams in Mount Rainier National Park (MORA). In addition, the presence or absence of streamflow (flow permanence) is related to water temperature, which influences the occurrence and distribution of aquatic species including cold-water fishes and insects. Information about the...
Learn More

Hydrochemical Analysis of Groundwater in Jewel Cave National Monument

The Issue: The park’s landscape and geomorphology is characterized as a carbonate karst environment, with sinking streams and fast connections between surface water and groundwater, resulting in high vulnerability of contamination to groundwater. Now that subterranean lakes have been discovered in Jewel Cave, understanding the groundwater connection of the lakes therein to the lakes in nearby Wind...
link

Hydrochemical Analysis of Groundwater in Jewel Cave National Monument

The Issue: The park’s landscape and geomorphology is characterized as a carbonate karst environment, with sinking streams and fast connections between surface water and groundwater, resulting in high vulnerability of contamination to groundwater. Now that subterranean lakes have been discovered in Jewel Cave, understanding the groundwater connection of the lakes therein to the lakes in nearby Wind...
Learn More

Assess the utility of a regional aquifer system groundwater model to inform the USGS National Hydrologic Model

The Issue: In Washington State, groundwater (GW) inflow to streams, or baseflow, is essential for maintaining aquatic habitats, and for out-of-stream uses such as irrigated agriculture during the typically dry summers. However, the National Hydrologic Model (NHM) currently is most suited to predicting total daily streamflow. This project aims to assess the NHM’s performance in simulating baseflow...
link

Assess the utility of a regional aquifer system groundwater model to inform the USGS National Hydrologic Model

The Issue: In Washington State, groundwater (GW) inflow to streams, or baseflow, is essential for maintaining aquatic habitats, and for out-of-stream uses such as irrigated agriculture during the typically dry summers. However, the National Hydrologic Model (NHM) currently is most suited to predicting total daily streamflow. This project aims to assess the NHM’s performance in simulating baseflow...
Learn More

Walla Walla River Basin groundwater-flow system, Oregon-Washington

The Issue: Decades of declining groundwater levels in the Walla Walla River Basin (WWRB), which spans Oregon and Washington, are affecting instream flows for threatened and culturally important fish populations and water availability for competing interests across state lines. The public and state resource management agencies have begun implementing efforts to stabilize groundwater levels and...
link

Walla Walla River Basin groundwater-flow system, Oregon-Washington

The Issue: Decades of declining groundwater levels in the Walla Walla River Basin (WWRB), which spans Oregon and Washington, are affecting instream flows for threatened and culturally important fish populations and water availability for competing interests across state lines. The public and state resource management agencies have begun implementing efforts to stabilize groundwater levels and...
Learn More

Southeast Sound Groundwater Flow Model

The Issue: Groundwater is an important resource for domestic, commercial, and industrial usage in the Puyallup River and Chambers-Clover Creek Watersheds, and groundwater discharge helps maintain late-summer and early-fall streamflow (baseflow) in many area streams. Consequently, as the population grows, and commercial and industrial activity increase, so does the demand for groundwater. However...
link

Southeast Sound Groundwater Flow Model

The Issue: Groundwater is an important resource for domestic, commercial, and industrial usage in the Puyallup River and Chambers-Clover Creek Watersheds, and groundwater discharge helps maintain late-summer and early-fall streamflow (baseflow) in many area streams. Consequently, as the population grows, and commercial and industrial activity increase, so does the demand for groundwater. However...
Learn More

Puget Sound Groundwater Low Flows Near Term Action Project

The Issue: Groundwater discharge to streams and rivers in the Puget Sound basin is the primary source of water for sustaining summer low flows. A robust understanding of how anthropogenic and natural stressors affect summer low flows across the entire Puget Sound Regional Aquifer System is lacking, and USGS has tools and data—including current water-use data and subbasin-scale groundwater models...
link

Puget Sound Groundwater Low Flows Near Term Action Project

The Issue: Groundwater discharge to streams and rivers in the Puget Sound basin is the primary source of water for sustaining summer low flows. A robust understanding of how anthropogenic and natural stressors affect summer low flows across the entire Puget Sound Regional Aquifer System is lacking, and USGS has tools and data—including current water-use data and subbasin-scale groundwater models...
Learn More