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News Release

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

Release: December 20, 2002
Mark Mastin
253-428-3600, ext. 2609

John Clemens
253-428-3600, ext. 2635

Models Guide Yakima Basin Water Management

[Note: The report can be viewed on the Web at]

Computer models developed in a joint Federal project are helping to guide water management in the Yakima River Basin and could have applications for other water projects in the western U.S., according to a report published today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).

USGS scientists constructed models of four Yakima River Basin watersheds, which include 51 subbasins and account for 95 percent of the streamflow in the basin. The models were coupled to a water-management model developed by the USBR that keeps track of water as it flows through and gets used in the basin. Altogether, the entire modeling package gives planners and water managers a valuable tool.

Managers can use the tool, called a decision support system, for long- and short-term water planning and operations. Because of keen competition among water users in the West, planners and water managers need a decision support system to help guide them.

"In the Yakima River Basin, there are many water-related issues--water rights, water allocation, water quality, fish habitat," said Mark Mastin, USGS hydrologist and lead author of the report. "The decision support system provides a consistent way of addressing these issues."

The report, "Watershed Models for Decision Support in the Yakima River Basin, Washington," by M.C. Mastin and J.J. Vaccaro, is published as U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-404. The report is available on-line at Http:// Copies can be purchased from the U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0286, telephone 303-202-4200.

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