City of Othello Water Supply Consulting Services

The City of Othello in central Washington relies on groundwater from the Wanapum Basalt aquifer, which is experiencing significant decreases in water levels and well yields. Aspect assisted the City in assessing options to provide reliable, long-term water supply and helped secure Office of Columbia River (OCR) grant funding to complete an Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) feasibility study. The feasibility study included evaluation of the City’s existing wells and the basalt aquifer for storage rates and volumes and an engineering evaluation of source water treatment and cost.

Aspect is currently implementing pilot testing with additional grant funding provided by OCR. Pilot testing will use a new City well, constructed in 2018 and instrumented specifically to allow for ASR pilot testing. Aspect developed well drilling specifications and provided oversight and management for construction of a new, 980-foot deep well. Wellhead construction, pump installation, and aquifer testing are completed and ASR pilot testing is ongoing in 2019.

Icicle Creek Subbasin Watershed Strategy

Aspect is the technical and facilitation lead for the $82 Million Icicle Strategy effort, which is designed to improve instream flows, assist in agricultural sustainability, and provide for local domestic growth beyond the year 2050 in the Icicle Creek Subbasin in North Central Washington. Aspect serves the Icicle Working Group that consists of members including Chelan County, City of Leavenworth, Icicle-Peshastin Irrigation District, Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, Colville Confederated Tribes and the Washington State Department of Ecology among others.

Our work has included facilitating Working Group sessions, technical evaluation of water resources across the subbasin, and field assessment of seven alpine dams. The last two years focused on leading the writing, review, and public presentation of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The final PEIS, released in January 2019, describe a suite of recommendations including creek modifications for improved fish passage; residential conservation projects in the Leavenworth area; automating dam releases; restoring Eightmile Lake to historical and permitted high water storage elevation; and Leavenworth hatchery infrastructure upgrades.

White Salmon ASR Feasibility Study and Pilot Testing

As part of our water supply and hydrogeologic services, Aspect is evaluating the City of White Salmon’s water rights and the potential for improving supply by using their existing surface water source and wellfield for aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). Based on our evaluation of hydrogeologic conditions, existing water system infrastructure, and seasonal availability of water for storage we designed and are implementing a pilot test to confirm the water quantities that can be stored and recovered, demonstrate compliance with water quality standards,  and support permitting of new water rights for ASR use.

Wenatchee 2050 Watershed Planning

Aspect is working for the Chelan County DNR to implement the next phase of watershed planning in the Wenatchee Basin. This project, funded through state and federal grants, includes planning, permitting, capital infrastructure development, and public outreach/facilitation/litigation support services to ensure sustainable water supply and water resources for future communities and habitat in the basin. We are performing water rights permitting, creating a water rights tracking system of permitted and exempt water rights in 11 subbasins, and coordinating watershed planning in the critical Icicle Creek subbasin to support future capital infrastructure development. We are providing hydrogeological, project management, and GIS services to support the multiple phases of this long-reaching project. 

Methow Valley Irrigation District Water Bank

After decades of litigation with the Department of Ecology regarding whether its canals were wasting water, MVID entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement to drastically improve irrigation efficiency.  This created an opportunity for regional collaboration with Ecology (who desired additional water for fish), with the Town of Twisp (who needed additional municipal water supply), and with MVID farmers (who received inadequate reliable supply particularly at the end of the canal system).  Aspect, in conjunction with teaming partners like Trout Unlimited, worked on developing a regional partnership for people (Twisp), farms (MVID), and fish (Ecology). 

Aspect played several important roles in helping to coordinate and permit this $10+ million dollar project, including:

  • Facilitation of public meetings to help gain consensus on the permitting approach and how water savings would be allocated.
  • Primary author of trust water transfers to establish the Water Bank, and new permits to MVID and Twisp based on water supply savings.
  • Assistance in negotiation of a purchase and sale agreement between MVID and Twisp, and a trust water agreement between MVID and Ecology.
  • Developing the SEPA compliance documents for the project. 
  • Developing the first coordinated certification program in Washington State to allow dozens of new MVID users served by groundwater wells to receive certificated water rights for the project.

Additional maps and detail on this innovative project is available on the District’s website at and an informational video below.


Goldendale Aquifer Storage Recovery (ASR) Feasibility Study

The City of Goldendale’s Simcoe Springs is a snowmelt-derived source of exceptional-quality water; the source is already insufficient to meet the community’s growing demands year-round, and may be reduced in quantity during summer months by future climate change. Aspect helped the City assess expanded use of the critical supply source—storing surplus winter spring flows in an aquifer and pumping the water back for use in the summer (ASR). Our ASR feasibility study developed the information required for an ASR permit application as specified in Chapter 173-157 WAC. Based on our recommendations, the City applied for a new seasonal water right to divert additional Simcoe Springs water for ASR. 

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Paterson Pipeline

For the DNR, Aspect performed a regional-level evaluation of water rights, pipeline infrastructure potential, and water-supply scenarios to irrigate 4,400 acres in Benton County. We assessed solutions for areas with declining groundwater levels and recommended alternatives that solved complex permitting, water-supply infrastructure, water rights, environmental, and funding issues.  A feasibility study to develop preliminary designs on a regional pump station is underway.

Okanogan and Ferry Counties Gold Mines

Aspect is assisting Kinross Gold Corporation with water right transfers, wastewater, and stormwater permitting for active, closed, and exploratory gold mines in northeast Washington.  We transferred water rights, helped obtain new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and stormwater permit authorizations, and collaborated on design solutions for control and treatment of mine-impacted waters.

Glacier Springs Water Association

Aspect assisted the Glacier Springs Water Association with water-right support for water-system planning, municipal water-right conformances, and extent and validity review of its water rights.  We helped facilitate meetings between Glacier Springs and Ecology, and developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to resolve a path forward over conflicting water-right interpretations.  The outcome of the MOU process was Superseding Certificates that clarified that Glacier Springs’ water rights were for municipal water supply purposes.

Wenatchee Basin Coordinated Cost Reimbursement Program

Aspect is implementing a Coordinated Cost Reimbursement Program for Chelan County Natural Resources Department, Ecology, and area municipalities.   The Program offered approximately 100 pending applicants in the Wenatchee Basin the opportunity to have their water right processed. The Program is currently in the implementation phase, with Reports of Examination being prepared for participating applicants.

Kennewick Aquifer Storage Recovery (ASR) Feasibility Study

Aspect initiated the City of Kennewick’s ASR concept to reduce diversion from the Columbia River during peak demand/critical flow periods while optimizing their existing infrastructure, consistent with the Quad Cities Regional Water Supply Plan and the WRIA 31 Watershed Management Plan. We completed the ASR feasibility study that included three required elements for ASR permit application (Chapter 173-157 WAC): the hydrogeologic conceptual model, environmental assessment, and project monitoring plan. As a result, the City secured more than $1M in funding to undertake ASR pilot testing, which likely will lead to full-scale implementation. 

Horse Heaven Hills Water Storage Appraisal Assessment

Aspect assessed multipurpose water-storage options to increase irrigation water supply for the Horse Heaven Hills area—the agricultural center of WRIA 31 and an American Viticultural Area. We initially assessed 13 surface reservoir sites and, based on preliminary cost-benefits, we arrived at a preferred alternative of two in-channel surface reservoirs comprising approximately 100,000 acre-feet of storage capacity and 10,000 acre-feet of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). The follow-on assessment retained Switzler Reservoir and demonstrated substantial public benefit by using the new water supply to mitigate impacts from new Columbia River water rights. The project involves diverse watershed stakeholders and is currently in SEPA review.

WRIA 30 Multipurpose Water Storage Assessment: Little Klickitat River and Swale Creek

Like other parts of Washington State, water is not uniformly available throughout the year in the Klickitat River watershed (WRIA 30), which can create conflicts between water demands for fish versus people. Aspect completed the initial assessment of storage options for developing new agricultural and municipal water supplies within two priority subbasins of WRIA 30: Little Klickitat River and Swale Creek. We identified prospective storage options based on each subbasin’s physical characteristics, irrespective of water needs. From our assessment, the implementing agencies have initiated a more detailed feasibility study for one of the identified options, in-channel storage within Dry and Idlewild Creeks to achieve both instream and out-of-stream benefits, which Aspect is conducting.

Water Supply Support for Soboba Band of San Luiseno Indians

Related to the southern California Tribe’s water supply, Aspect has provided a range of support from water rights litigation to the implementation of the resulting Settlement Agreement. Infrastructure projects have included siting and design of two 1,100-feet deep, high-capacity municipal supply wells; pump and well rehabilitation pumping cost analysis; SCADA system upgrades; stream gaging; water-level monitoring; database services; and geotechnical support for levee and creek crossing projects.  Environmental support to the Tribe includes wellhead protection area plan,  305B report, and non-point-source assessment report.

WRIA 16 Hydrogeologic and Instream Flow Studies

Aspect performed four studies in WRIA 16/14B for the Planning Unit. The studies include a hydrogeologic investigation of the Dosewallips Brinnon area, an instream flow study, a hydrogeologic investigation at the Webb Hill biosolids facility, and a river/stream impairment analysis.  These projects used methods ranging from use of stable isotopes for hydrogeologic characterization to a development of a GIS database and tool that allows for future updates and use by project stakeholders.

WRIA 48 Water Right Transfer and Water Bank Planning

Aspect assisted the Methow Watershed Council’s implementation of 20 planning actions recommended in the WRIA 48 Watershed Plan. This work included developing guidance and approaches for: identifying local resources to provide information and education on water-right transfers, assisting in evaluating existing water rights, facilitating placement of existing water rights into the State's Trust Water Rights Program, and administering a local water bank using Trust Water Rights to provide mitigation of new uses in the basin.

Davis Lake Water Storage Assessment

The 2009 WRIA 48 Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) for the Methow River Basin identified surface water and groundwater storage to improve water supply for instream and out-of-stream uses. Aspect worked with the Methow Watershed Council to identify storage opportunities, develop and apply screening criteria, and analyze the potential benefits of each use. After our preliminary analysis of three potential projects, the Council selected one with potential to restore summer streamflow and improve irrigation water-supply.

WRIA 31 Watershed Assessment and Planning

Aspect assisted WRIA 31 Policy Advisory Group with each phase of watershed planning. We expedited Level 1 watershed assessment in 10 months so that Phase 3 tasks could proceed, including development of the Watershed Management Plan that focused on water availability and quality, and fish habitat. We developed applications for Ecology grants to initiate Level 2 water quality and water storage projects, including aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) using Columbia River water to meet peak municipal demands. In Phase 4 we identified a preferred water-storage alternative to increase water supplies in the Horse Heaven Hills area using surface and subsurface reservoirs, and assisted the county in obtaining grants to move the preferred alternative into an appraisal assessment.

Col Solare Vineyard Water Supply Development

Aspect assisted with acquisition and transfer of existing water rights and oversaw the siting, construction, aquifer testing, and permitting of a high-capacity wellfield to support vineyard development in the Red Mountain appellation area.  We sited wells based on detailed stratigraphic and structural analysis of the Columbia River Basalt system and hydraulic continuity of specific water-bearing units with the Yakima River.  We helped Ste. Michelle reach agreement with Ecology on permitting of a water-right transfer from surface to groundwater, as well as pump design and operations (combined capacity greater than 1,500 gpm).