City of Othello Water Supply Consulting Services

The Problem

The City of Othello (City) lies in the semi-arid desert of the Columbia Plateau and is entirely dependent on groundwater. The wellfield for this growing City of 8,000+ has suffered significant losses in capacity for decades, which cannot be sustainably addressed by only adding more wells. Beyond water supply, the City has a strong food processing industry – already home to two of the world’s largest potato processors – which requires steady and large volumes of water to keep the supply process humming.

How We Helped

Aspect assisted the City in assessing options to provide reliable, long-term water supply and helped secure Department of Ecology Office of Columbia River (OCR) grant funding to complete an Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) feasibility study and testing program. Aspect is currently implementing pilot testing using a new City well, Well 3R, that is instrumented specifically to allow for ASR pilot testing. Aspect developed well drilling specifications and provided direction, design, and management for construction of the new, 980-foot-deep well.

Client Milestones

The new well achieved water quality goals in a challenging environment and exceeded expectations for well yield. Well aquifer testing was completed in 2018, with ASR pilot testing planned for 2019 and 2020. The well testing and ASR program is a step towards the City developing a sustainable, reliable, environmentally responsible water plan for the Othello region that will serve Othello residents, food processors, agriculture, and the Columbia Basin region.

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.

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. 

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.