To meet its growth management planning goals, the Methow Watershed Council (MWC) needed a clear understanding of current and potential future water use in the Methow River Basin (WRIA 48). Each of the Basin’s seven stream reaches is bound by an instream flow rule that specifies the water available for future, consumptive, single domestic or stockwater use. Developing an accurately picture of current and future water use – a significant challenge in Okanagan County, where parcel-level water source data is not readily available – required a sophisticated tracking and analysis system.
Aspect integrated GIS and database tools to build an instream flow reservation tracking and forecasting database with a tailored user interface. This system produced a highly refined estimate of current water use at the parcel level by leveraging a number of geospatial and database inputs. The input data comes from a wide array of sources – including parcels, zoning, public water systems, water rights, well logs, conservation easements, hydrography, building permits, and irrigation analyses – to provide the MWC with tools and information to refine and update the water use estimate. Additionally, the system delivered to MWC allows for nuanced, parcel-level buildout scenarios to be run, providing insight into future water availability given current (or proposed) land use planning.
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