Selah-Moxee Irrigation District Water Management Planning

The Problem

For over a century, the Selah-Moxee Irrigation District (SMID) has irrigated over 7,000 acres of the some of the most productive agricultural land in the Yakima Basin. However, areas surrounding their district have been challenged by declining groundwater for decades. To help ensure greater water security in the region, SMID assessed their water rights portfolio to see how they could leverage their currently supply to offset these declines.

How We Helped

Aspect set the stage for broad water management strategy improvements by auditing their water rights portfolio, including conducting GIS surveys to determine potential consumptive and non-consumptive water use savings from land use changes and canal lining. This groundwork led to helping SMID secure $150,000 in grant money to find supply side solutions around declining groundwater in their area.

SMID Milestones

The district has clear first steps to a more secure water supply for Yakima Basin groundwater user. Further groundwater management studies, led by Aspect, include a groundwater infiltration study aimed at retiming Yakima River flows to benefit the river during low flow months and water marketing studies to evaluate expansion of SMID service areas to move declining groundwater users onto more reliable surface supplies.

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.

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.

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.