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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Release: March 1, 2001
John Vaccaro
253-428-3600, ext. 2620

M.A. Jones
253-428-3600, ext. 2617

Second round of water-level measurements in Yakima Basin ground-water study to start next week

A second round of water-level measurements for the ground-water study of the Yakima River Basin is set to begin next week, according to the Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Well and water-level information gathered in the first field measurement effort last August is being entered into a scientific data base for analysis. Measurements from the second round will give scientists valuable information on how the water levels in the basin change with time, and under stress such as the recent drought conditions.

The basin study area includes Yakima, Kittitas, and Benton Counties, as well as a small part of Klickitat County.

For this second round, USGS field crews are planning to measure water levels in over 600 water wells throughout the basin to give scientists a clear picture of how much ground water is there, and where it is.

"We'll be working in the basin for about four weeks, starting March 5," said John Vaccaro, USGS hydrologist and project chief for the study.

To get an accurate, scientific assessment of the basin's ground water, as many water-level measurements as possible are needed. The USGS is asking individual well owners once again to help out by allowing their wells' water levels to be measured.

"Well owners play a big part in getting an accurate assessment," Vaccaro said. "We had a wonderful response from basin residents during the first round of measurements, with information gathered from about 1,100 wells throughout the basin."

"The information from their wells is essential for an accurate estimate of total ground-water availability for all residents of the basin," Vaccaro said.

The USGS field crew of about 10 will begin measurements March 5 and will continue through March 30.

As the Nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation and the economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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