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News Release

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

Release: September 22, 2009
John Vaccaro

John Clemens

First Water Budget for Yakima River Basin

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

The first comprehensive water budget for the entire Yakima River Basin is detailed in a report released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

A water budget is the accounting of the inflow, outflow, and storage changes of water in a basin.

In the process of determining the water budget, USGS scientists found that water levels in most of the Yakima River Basin aquifer system have either been stable or declined by less than 20 feet over more than 50 years. They also identified a few areas where groundwater levels are declining at a rate of 10 feet per year, and in some of the areas the declines have been more than 150 feet.

Because of increasing demand for water in the basin, managers need an integrated understanding of the aquifer system and how it is connected to rivers and streams. In cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Yakama Nation, for the last eight years USGS scientists have studied the aquifer system's water levels, hydrogeology, pumpage, recharge, flow, and connections to surface water. Some of this information was released in a series of earlier reports, and this tenth report in the series summarizes and documents the previous work and the latest work completed by USGS scientists.

The report, "Hydrogeologic framework of the Yakima River Basin Aquifer System, Washington," by J.J. Vaccaro, M.A. Jones, D.M. Ely, M.E. Keys, T.D. Olsen, W.B. Welch, and S.E. Cox, is published as U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5152. It can be viewed on the Web at .

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