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Lower Elwha Reservation Water Resources

Project Summaries

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WA192 - Water Resources of the Lower Elwha Indian Reservation - Completed FY1979

Problem - The Lower Elwha Tribe needs to increase its water use to supply fish-rearing facilities and new community housing. The principal existing supply is the Elwha River which is regulated by two impoundments and a large diversion above the Reservation. Additional ground water can be developed from aquifers in the river floodplain but there is immediate concern about causing saline water intrusion. More information is needed to guide future water development.

Objectives - To

  1. determine the amount of ground water that could be developed on the Reservation;
  2. delineate the areas subject to saline-water intrusion and evaluate the potential for such intrusion;
  3. define the flow characteristics of the Elwha River and evaluate the effects of existing and proposed impoundments and diversions; and
  4. determine the general quality of ground and surface water on the Reservation.

Approach - Surface-water supplies will be evaluated on the basis of long-term gaging stations in the area plus periodic streamflow measurements. Flood inundation maps will be prepared for 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year floods. Two thermographs will be installed to determine effect of impoundments on stream temperature. Ground-water supplies will be evaluated by inventorying existing wells, periodic water level measurements and drilling a test well. Samples for QW analysis will be collected from wells and streams to determine suitability for domestic and fisheries use and evaluate potential for saline water intrusion.

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