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News Release

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

Release: September 18, 2006
John Vaccaro

John Clemens

Yakima Basin Ground-Water Use Estimated

[Note: The report can be viewed on the Web at Additional related publications are at ]

Ground-water pumpage information needed to assess water availability in the Yakima River Basin is available in a new report published today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Produced in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, the Yakama Nation, and the Washington State Department of Ecology, the report features data for over 3,000 wells, making it the largest study of its kind ever in the state.

The quantities of ground water pumped in the basin were estimated for 1960 to 2000 for eight categories of water use. Pumpage estimates were based on methods that varied by the category and primarily represent pumpage for wells with ground water rights.

"In 1960, total annual pumpage in the basin was about 115,776 acre-feet," said John Vaccaro, USGS hydrologist and lead author of the report. "By 2000, total annual pumpage was estimated to have nearly tripled, to 312,284 acre-feet."

Irrigation accounts for about 60 percent of the pumpage, followed by public water supply at about 12 percent. Ground water is the principal source of drinking water in the basin and supplies about 330,000 people in the three-county area.

Water managers in the Yakima River Basin will incorporate the pumpage estimates into computer models to boost their understanding of the ground-water flow system and to test water management strategies. The report is one of a series of USGS information products for the Yakima River Basin Groundwater Study. These information products are needed by managers to help them assess and manage water resources in the basin.

The report, "Estimates of ground-water pumpage from the Yakima River Basin aquifer system, Washington, 1960-2000," by J.J. Vaccaro and S.S. Sumioka, is published as U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5205. The report can be viewed on the Web at . 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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