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.


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.

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.