WRIA 16/14b Rivers & Streams Impairment Analysis, Mason & Jefferson Counties

Aspect completed an analysis of river and stream impairment, identifying and prioritizing areas of concern for potential impacts of future groundwater withdrawals on streamflows within WRIA 16/14b (along the west and south shores of Hood Canal).

As a key part of this analysis, Aspect developed sophisticated database and GIS analysis toolsets to perform population-based (census data) and source-based (wells, water rights, and public water systems) water use assessments – for both current and buildout conditions in the basin. Beyond helping the WRIA 16 Planning Unit understand and plan for projected water use in the WRIA 16 subbasins, Aspect’s analysis helped identify 13 public waters systems with probable water right shortfalls at full buildout. Additionally, Aspect implemented a GIS-based predictive model to identify sites with a high likelihood for stream sediment aggradation (a critical issue in the WRIA) – evaluating these sites based on stream transport capacity, upstream, in-channel and local sediment supply, and barriers to sediment transport. The software solutions developed as a part of this project allow WRIA stakeholders to execute updated analyses as data inputs (or model assumptions) change or are improved over time. Further, Aspect was responsible for a large cartographic effort on the project, designing over 50 maps and figures for the final report. 

Instream Flow Reservation Tracking and Forecasting System

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.

Read the report here: