Reducing Washington State Drought Impacts in the Okanogan River Basin

In both the northern reaches, high desert region, and even the Olympic Peninsula—literally one of the wettest places in the lower 48 states historically—summer 2019 is a serious drought year in Washington State. Earlier this spring, the governor declared a drought emergency, which was able to unlock emergency relief options and funding for 27 watersheds across the entire state. In the Methow, Okanogan, and upper Yakima River watersheds, it’s particularly bad. Based on current forecasting, the Okanogan is expected to be at 58 percent of normal, and curtailment notification letters have already been sent to local water users. However, this drastic forecast has prompted forward thinking. 

In partnership with the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Oroville-Tonasket Irrigation District (OTID) has developed a “water bank” in the Okanogan River basin to help regional water users impacted by the drought. The water bank will be used to support instream flows and to assist “junior” water users during periods of curtailment. OTID is seeding the bank with two of its senior water rights. In 2018, Ecology, with assistance from Aspect, certified these water rights through the state’s Certified Water Right Examiner process. 

Ecology is working to complete the required permitting to place the water rights in the state’s Trust Water Right Program (TWRP) to create the water bank (read more about water banks on Ecology’s website). This water bank will be seeded with about 7,500 acre feet of water, which will be made available for drought relief. From this bank, eligible water users can “withdraw” water for both irrigation and municipal or domestic uses.

 More information can be found at the following website:

https://www.aspectconsulting.com/otidwaterbank

Aspect at the 2017 WA Hydrogeology Symposium

Aspect's Tyson Carlson and Andrew Austreng will both be presenting at the 11th Washington Hydrogeology Symposium in Tacoma this week (May 9-11). Senior Project Hydrogeologist Andrew Austren will discuss his Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) work on the Columbia Plateau. Andrew will present on his work for the City of Othello and how the City aims to stabilize aquifer levels and support well yields under current and future water demand.

Associate Hydrogeologist Tyson Carlson will present at a Thursday workshop on Training for Water Rights Analysis – Certified Water Rights Examiners (CWREs).  This workshop offers a refresher for CWREs on Washington water law. Tyson’s presentation will focus on how to write a proof of examination.

Taking place in Tacoma, the Hydrogeology Symposium is one of the Northwest's foremost meeting place for hydrogeologists and groundwater professionals in the academic, regulatory, and business worlds.

Know Your Source: Exploring Hydrogeology’s Role in Water Rights Transfers

Check out the January issue of The Water Report, where Aspect’s Associate Hydrogeologist Tyson Carlson explains the key role hydrogeologic evaluation plays in successful water rights transfers. The article revolves around the “same source” concept and how understanding the hydrogeologic system of a site will help you manage risk, expand transfer options, and bring more certainty to regulatory approval.

Read the article here.

This article is reprinted with permission from The Water Report. A review copy of The Water Report is available to anyone, upon request, at www.thewaterreport.com.

Examples of Same Source Part of a Common Flow Regime

Examples of Same Source Part of a Common Flow Regime

Aspect Presenting on Topics Ranging from Hydrology and Water Rights to Water Supply and Demand Projections at Water Rights Transfers Seminar

Aspect’s Dan Haller and Tyson Carlson will be presenting at The Seminar Group’s 9th annual Water Rights Transfers seminar. On November 9th, Tyson will be presenting during the Hydrology And Water Rights portion of the seminar. He will be discussing approaches used to determine same body of public groundwater; groundwater – surface water continuity; potential impairment and water availability; and mitigation suitability.

The next day, Dan will join a panel to discuss the 2016 Water Supply and Demand Forecast. The group will present on the new supply/demand projections through 2035; water banking inventory; and economic evaluation on how the cost of water is affecting water supply development.

Learn more about the seminar HERE.