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Matt Bachmann
(mbachman@usgs.gov)
(253) 552-1672

Sue Kahle
(sckahle@usgs.gov)
(253) 552-1616

934 Broadway,
Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98402
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Yakima River Basin

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Yakima Ground-Water Project: Status update for May, 2008 – August, 2009


Reports

  1. A new report describing the hydrogeologic units, hydraulic characteristics, hydrochemistry, groundwater: occurrence, conditions, flow system, and use, and groundwater level trends has been approved and the on-line version will be available in September 2009. The report is titled, ‘The Hydrogeologic Framework of the Yakima River Basin Aquifer System.’

Well information

  1. All work related to well information has been completed.

Hydrology

  1. All work related to the hydrogeology has been completed.

Groundwater-surface water interactions

  1. All known historical seepage investigation data were compiled, including data collected during this study. More than 155 stream reaches were investigated--the first on Ahtanum Creek by the USGS in 1897. A Data Series report documenting the data has been written and reviewed. This report will be available on-line in September 2009.
  2. A report describing the River-Aquifer Exchanges in the basin is being worked on. Categories of data being analyzed include: Isotope data, Seepage investigation data, Mini-piezometer data, Monitoring well data, and Thermal profile data. All of the above categories include the compilation of data collected during this study and historical data collected by the USGS or other agencies.
  3. Analysis of the first 3 categories of data has been completed. When appropriate, the analysis relates the results to salmonid habitat because of the relation between river-aquifer exchanges, groundwater flow, and habitat.
  4. Forty-four figures for the report have been completed.

Groundwater pumpage

  1. The pumpage files for the regional model were created with the selection of the model layers and grid size for the regional model. The program to make model input files was developed and will be automated at a later time in a Windows environment. The computer program includes various options for changing pumpage to test scenarios and management options; several more options need to be incorporated.

Groundwater recharge

  1. A computer program was developed that takes the several billion daily calculated recharge values for the complete extent of the regional flow model and creates model input files for the regional model for any time period specified. This method includes abilities for testing management scenarios by allowing changes in recharge for user defined areas or irrigation districts.

Hydraulic characteristics

  1. All work related to the compilation and analysis of hydraulic characteristics has been completed. Additional work is related to the calibration of the regional groundwater flow model.

Groundwater flow system

  1. All work has been completed on the groundwater flow system, excluding that related to the groundwater-modeling framework.
  2. The completed work is documented in 26 sections of the completed report described above under ‘Reports.’

Groundwater flow model

  1. The basic framework for the ground-water flow models for the basin-fill deposits in the six sedimentary basins and a regional model were established and the models operated with numerical closure.
  2. The complexity of operating and analysis of 7 models was reviewed and discussed, and it was decided to incorporate the developed model information into a single, finer-detailed regional model.
  3. The new regional model was formulated using a 1,000-foot model grid structure and 24 model layers. The model grid is 600 by 600 cells and contains about 4.6 million active model cells.
  4. Streamflow-Routing (SFR2) Package input files were constructed for the new regional model.
  5. Geologic structure was incorporated into the model for the basalt and bedrock areas.
  6. Model drain cells were established in the bedrock uplands to support streamflow.
  7. Constant Head boundary conditions were established along the Columbia River.
  8. General Head boundary conditions were established for lakes and reservoirs.
  9. Time-series data sets were compiled and constructed for input to the transient regional flow model. The data sets include
    1. Surface water irrigation diversions and returns (about 113)
    2. Ground-water/surface water interaction
    3. Streamflow observations-monthly observed streamflow at various sites
    4. Ground-water-level observations (about 20,000)
    5. Pumping wells for each month from water year 1960 through water year 2001.
  10. The large amount of model-input information related to the streamflow routing, drain locations, depths, and parameters, well files, recharge files, and geologic structure were all analyzed and checked to verify that the model input was correct.
  11. The regional model was initially operated with steady-state conditions to develop criteria for obtaining model closure and reasonable initial heads. This stage of the modeling process also was oriented to understanding how this extremely complex model operates and to develop methods to analyze and use model calculated values.
  12. The steady state model was then used to analyze if the overall calculated regional flow system was consistent with a developed conceptual model and mapped water levels.
  13. The model is currently being operated under transient conditions. Included in this stage of the process is the testing of model sensitivities to changes in model parameters and initial conditions, which will be an on-going process. This work also includes more detailed analysis of groundwater-flow barriers, calculated hydraulic heads, and simulated streamflow.

Yakima Ground-Water Project: Status update for October, 2007 - April, 2008


Reports

  1. A new report describing the hydrogeologic units, hydraulic characteristics, ground-water occurrence, conditions, flow system, use, and trends is being written.

Well information

  1. All work related to well information has been completed

Hydrogeology

  1. Maps of the depth to the top and lateral extent of the Saddle Mountains, Wanapum, and Grande Ronde hydrogeologic units and the Mabton and Vantage interbeds were documented in a report.
  2. A map of the estimated thinning to zero-thickness of the Grande Ronde unit at its lateral extent was constructed. A 3,000 feet thick sequence, which will be modeled using the regional ground-water flow modeled, needed to be thinned in order to account for the Grande Ronde unit’s decrease in thickness near its lateral boundary.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. Some additional measurements were made in the Kittitas Basin for Cherry and Wilson Creeks, and additional information on stream losses in the Toppenish Basin were obtained from the Yakama Nation
  2. The information from 1-above will be integrated with the on-going checking and analysis of seepage-run data collected during the course of this study.
  3. Thermal profile data for 11 stream reaches were made available in a data-series report.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. Files of the ground-water pumpage estimates were developed for input into the six ground-water flow models for the structural basins. The 2.7 million monthly pumpage values can be directly made into model input files for any of the basins for any time period during water years 1960-2001. The method has been automated within a UNIX environment and a user interface is being developed for a Windows environment.
  2. The pumpage files for the regional model will be created upon final selection of the model layers for the basalt units. The program to make model input files is being developed and will also be automated in a Windows environment.

Ground-water recharge

  1. A method was developed to convert the mean monthly recharge values into model input for any of the six basin models for any time period for water years 1960-2001. The monthly values are related to a raster grid with 500 feet square cells.
  2. A similar method was developed for the estimated mean monthly recharge for the 720 square mile area that is outside of the Yakima River Basin.
  3. An updated method was developed that allows the monthly values for the complete extent of the regional flow model to be made into model input files for either a basin model or the regional model.

Hydraulic characteristics

  1. Analysis and comparison of lateral hydraulic conductivity values based on a compilation of previously published information and new calculations has been completed. The information has been put into a table for the new report.
  2. Values of vertical hydraulic conductivity and storage coefficient have been compiled based on either previously estimated values on the Columbia Plateau or from values published in literature.
  3. The section on hydraulic characteristics had been written for the new report.

Ground-water flow system

  1. A generalized map of the depth to the water table for the Yakima River Basin aquifer system (principally for the structural basins) was prepared for publication in the new report.
  2. Maps of the water table in the surficial deposits in the six structural basins were prepared for publication in the new report.
  3. Maps of ground-water levels for the three basalt units were completed. These maps are currently being prepared for publication in the new report.
  4. About 220 long-term hydrographs of ground-water levels for wells in the study area were made available for viewing on an interactive Google™map that is contained in a web-only data series report.
  5. Ground-water level trends for the three basalt units were mapped. The categories for mapping were: 1) no or small declines, 2) moderate declines, 3) large declines, 4) very large declines, and 5) rises. The maps were prepared for publication in the new report.
  6. Maps of cumulative ground-water pumpage and recharge for water years 1960 through 2001 were prepared for publication in the new report.
  7. An analysis of isotope data is continuing. This analysis will provide additional information for analyzing the ground-water flow system.

Ground-water flow models

  1. The basic framework for the ground-water flow models for the basin-fill deposits in the six sedimentary basins has been established and the models currently operate with numerical closure.
  2. Several commercial pre- and post-processors, including MODFLOW GUI, GMS and ArcGIS currently are being used for model data management.
  3. Computer algorithms were written that easily create or edit MODFLOW well (pumpage) and recharge time-series files from existing databases and spreadsheets.
  4. Streamflow-Routing (SFR2) Package input files have been constructed for the six basin-fill ground-water models. The files include irrigation diversions and returns and cross-sectional data from existing HEC-RAS models.
  5. Time-series data sets are being compiled and constructed for input to the transient ground-water models. The data sets include
    1. Surface water irrigation diversions and returns
    2. Ground-water/surface water interaction
    3. Streamflow observations
    4. Ground-water-level observations
  6. An initial regional model for the extended study area has been constructed. The model uses a 1500-foot grid structure and incorporates the basin-fill sediments and newly delineated basalt and bedrock hydrogeology.

Yakima Ground-Water Project: status update for March, 2007-September, 2007

Well information

  1. The spatial distribution of reported or measured well yields was mapped and analyzed.
  2. Maps of flowing wells and springs in the basin were developed and are being prepared for publication.

Hydrogeology

  1. A map showing the extent of the surficial hydrogeologic units in the basin was constructed.
  2. A correlation chart showing the relation between generalized geologic units and hydrogeologic units was completed.
  3. Maps of the depth to the top and extent of the Saddle Mountains, Wanapum, and Grande Ronde units and Mabton and Vantage interbeds were finalized.
  4. A report describing the construction of the maps in 3-above is being written.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. Seepage-run data collected during the course of this study are currently being re-checked, mapped, and analyzed.
  2. Monthly estimates of diversions in the basin for water years 1960-2001 were compiled in order to provide information for understanding how much water is in the river system when analyzing ground water-surface water interactions and for use in the ground-water flow models.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. Files of the ground-water pumpage estimates are being developed for input into the ground-water flow models.

Ground-water recharge

  1. The monthly current-condition recharge values for each of the areas that were modeled using PRMS and DPM were made available in an on-line USGS Open File Report 2007-1238. The monthly values were processed and related to a raster grid with 500 feet square cells for water years 1960-2001. There are 78,144 unique recharge values for each of the 504 months that are related to the 682,116 grid cells in the raster grid.
  2. Monthly recharge was estimated for water years 1960-2001 for a 720 square mile area that is outside of the Yakima River Basin. This area is east of the basin and its boundary is the Columbia River, which will be the boundary for a regional ground-water flow model.

Hydraulic characteristics

  1. Analysis and comparison of hydraulic conductivity values based on both calculations and a compilation of previously published information is on-going.

Ground-water flow systems

  1. Maps of ground-water levels for the water table in the six structural basins containing the basin-fill deposits have been constructed.
  2. A generalized map of the depth to the water table for the Yakima River Basin aquifer system was constructed. The map will provide information at the regional-scale for calibrating ground-water flow models. The map also will provide information for water management.
  3. Hydrographs of ground-water levels for wells in the study area were made and analyzed. About 200 of these hydrographs were selected for showing long-term trends in ground-water levels. These hydrographs are currently being worked-on and put into a format compatible with a web-based data-series report.
  4. The hydrographs were categorized as having: 1) no or small declines, 2) moderate declines, 3) large declines, 4) very large declines, and 5) rises. This information will be used for assessing ground-water level trends. Trends will be assessed laterally and vertically.
  5. The cumulative ground-water pumpage and recharge for water years1960 through 2001 were calculated and maps of these cumulative values were constructed. The distribution of these values will be analyzed in conjunction with the assessment of ground-water level trends.
  6. A report describing the hydrogeologic units, ground-water occurrence, conditions, flow system, use, and trends is currently being worked on.

Ground-water flow models

  1. The basic framework for the ground-water flow models for the basin-fill deposits in the 6 sedimentary basins has been established and the models currently operate with numerical closure.
  2. Argus One/MODFLOW GUI and GMS currently are being used for model data management.
  3. Monthly recharge values for water years 1960-2201 were resampled to 500 foot grids and incorporated into the 6 basin-fill models.
  4. Initial Streamflow-Routing (SFR2) Package input files have been constructed for 2 ground-water models. The files include cross-sectional data from existing HEC-RAS models.
  5. Time-series data sets are being compiled and constructed for input into the transient ground-water models. The data sets include
    1. Surface water irrigation diversions and returns
    2. Ground-water withdrawals (pumpage)
    3. Ground-water/surface water interaction
    4. Streamflow observations
    5. Ground-water-level observations

Status update for April, 2006-February, 2007

Well information

  1. All work has been completed related to gathering and compiling well available information.
  2. The well information is being further checked and analyzed as part of the work elements listed below. Such work includes checking that selected wells are located properly, that is, the latitude and longitude of the well is in the identified Township, Range, Section, and in most cases, quarter-quarter section.
  3. Analysis includes assessing the spatial distribution of reported or measured well yields.

Hydrogeology

  1. A report describing the thickness of the hydrogeologic units composed of the basin-fill deposits in the 6 sedimentary basins has been published as USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5116.
  2. The gathering and compiling of information related to defining hydrogeologic units for the basalt part of the flow system has been completed. Information from 9 sources has been compiled into files. The well information, representing some 2,200 wells is being checked for locations and reconciliation of differences between files.
  3. Selected information for wells not in the USGS National Water Inventory System (NWIS) or in 2-above was compiled as part of this study. Information from about 9,000 of these wells was checked for possible use in defining the elevation of the top of basalt units in areas with no information from 2-above.
  4. Maps of the lateral extents of the Grande Ronde, Wanapum, and Saddle Mountain Formations were finalized.
  5. Selected previously published maps of the tops of the basalt formations were digitized. These and other maps of the tops of the basalt formations are being analyzed for comparison with formation picks from basalt wells, mapped outcrop areas, and elevation information from digital elevation models.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. A report documenting a method using thermal profiling to locate areas of ground-water discharge that was developed as part of this study was documented in a web-only report, USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5136.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. The merging of the pumpage estimates for non-municipal Public Water Supply wells to the Department of Health database was completed.
  2. Estimates of ground-water pumpage were completed and a report documenting the methods, results, potential errors, and relation to appropriated water has been published as USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5205.
  3. Many of the wells with ground-water rights were assigned open intervals based on information from available well logs.

Ground-water recharge

  1. The USGS’s Deep Percolation Model (DPM), which was modularized for inclusion into the USGS’s MMS as part of this project, was documented in USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5318.
  2. Recharge from domestic septic system water-return for 1960-2001 was estimated for 5-year intervals.
  3. A report documenting the methods and results of estimating ground-water recharge has been has been published as USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5007.
  4. Using extended weather records, recharge was estimated for water years 1999-2001 for the upland areas using the model and methods described in 2-above.
  5. The daily recharge values for each of the areas modeled to estimate recharge were processed to monthly and annual values by water year (1960-2001). The values are for 73,182 grids of the basin that are 500 feet square cells.

Hydraulic characteristics

  1. The construction of the ground-water flow models is being used to help analyze the hydraulic characteristics for the basin-fill deposits.
  2. Well logs for Yakima River Basin wells in NWIS (more than 10,000) were checked to determine if a well had aquifer test information--about 90 wells had appropriate information for analyzing aquifer tests.
  3. All specific capacity information for wells in the basin that had information in NWIS was analyzed for hydraulic conductivity. A total of about 727 wells had this information. Specific capacity information for 1,222 wells that did not have information in NWIS was obtained from digital files created during this study.
  4. Analysis and comparison of hydraulic conductivity values based on the calculations and a compilation of previously published is on-going.

Ground-water flow models

  1. Maps of ground-water levels for the water table in the six structural basins with the basin-fill deposits are being constructed.
  2. A generalized map of the depth to the water table for the Yakima River Basin aquifer system is nearly constructed. The map will provide information at the regional-scale for calibrating ground-water flow models. The map also will provide information for water management.
  3. Well logs for Yakima River Basin wells in the NWIS (more than 10,000) were checked to determine if at anytime a well tapped a flowing artesian zone. About 500 flowing artesian wells (historical or existing) were identified. When possible, the type of deposits that the flowing zone is in, for example, sandstone, and the depth interval of the zone were identified. Data from these wells will provide information for identifying the location and partial extent of major confined zones in the aquifer system.
  4. Well logs are currently being searched to find wells identified as ‘dry’ or ‘no water’. These wells will indicate either areas of low well yields or deeper water-tables.

Ground-water flow models

  1. The model selected for use was the latest USGS’s MODFLOW model within the newest version of the Groundwater Modeling System (GMS) software. The model cell size selected for the basins models was 500 by 500 feet. Model layering has been established but can be readily changed using GMS.
  2. The basic framework for the ground-water flow models for the basin-fill deposits in the 6 sedimentary basins has been established, including the extension of the Benton basin to the Columbia River and the extension of the Toppenish Basin to include the western part of the Benton Basin.
  3. The models currently operate with numerical closure. The calculated hydraulic heads from the models are being examined for their reasonableness, that is, are there layers or areas for which the calculated values appear much too small or large. The sensitivity of the models to variations in hydraulic characteristics is being explored.

Status update for September, 2005-April, 2006

Well information

  1. All work has been completed related to gathering and compiling well information.

Hydrogeology

  1. The mapping of hydrogeologic units for the basin-fill deposits in basins 1-6 has been completed.
  2. A report describing the thickness of the units has been written, received colleague review, and the reviews have been responded to. The report is currently undergoing editorial review prior to being submitted for approval and publication.
  3. The gathering and compiling of information related to defining hydrogeologic units for the basalt part of the flow system is on-going. Most of the available basalt data has been gathered. The on-going compilation process includes developing files of the well information, reconciliation of differences between files, and analysis of well logs associated with the basalt wells. Information from more than 1,000 basalt wells is being analyzed.
  4. Previous maps of the tops of the basalt formations for part of the study area are being geo-referenced for digitizing. These and other maps of the tops of the basalt formations will need to be reconciled with each other, between picks from basalt wells, and in outcrop areas, to detailed surficial geology and elevation information from digital elevation models.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. A seepage run was conducted for part of the lower Yakima River. This work was conducted in cooperation with another USGS study. The seepage run was conducted during much higher flows than previous seepage runs for this part of the river.
  2. Data has been obtained for seepage runs on the lower Naches River and the Tieton River. Availability of additional information for other streams is being determined.
  3. A report documenting the method, developed as part of this study, to thermally profile long river reaches has been written and reviewed. The report was submitted for editorial review.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. Pumpage estimates have completed. A report documenting the methods, results, potential errors, and relation to appropriated water has been written. The report is currently undergoing colleague review.
  2. As part of the on-going work for pumpage, depths of open intervals of the larger production wells in the basin are being added to the pumpage files. Most of the municipal wells and commercial-industrial wells have been assigned open intervals. Open intervals have been inputted for irrigation wells with rights of more than 96 acre-feet per year, and work is continuing for the irrigation wells with smaller rights. Livestock wells with rights of more than 70 acre-feet per year have had their open-intervals assigned and work will continue on the other (lesser) rights. This work will allow the ground-water flow models to simulate well pumpage from the correct hydrogeologic unit. In addition, the pumpage files, by category, are being developed to include as much pertinent information as possible for the modeling work, including such aspects as the date the well came ‘on-line’ or went ‘off-line’ for such reasons as a well deepening or replacement.
  3. Work has also started on developing the framework for model pumpage files for the municipal systems for which there are multiple wells with measured data. Files of the well information with open intervals need to be merged with the observed or extrapolated monthly pumpage values.
  4. The merging of the pumpage estimates for non-municipal Public Water Supply wells to the Department of Health database has started.

Ground-water recharge

  1. The USGS's Deep Percolation Model (DPM), which was modularized for inclusion into the USGS’s MMS as part of this project, was used to estimate recharge for 14 areas for predevelopment land-use conditions and 16 areas for current land-use conditions. One of the 16 areas modeled is essentially a smaller area of one of the previous 14 modeled areas but uses much smaller calculation areas in order to account for the spatial distribution of irrigated croplands.
  2. The daily recharge values for each of the modeled areas have been processed to monthly, annual, mean monthly, and mean as both HRU and area-averaged annual values.
  3. Methods are currently being developed to incorporate recharge from domestic septic system water-return. The information for septic system return will be based on the distribution, by census block, of domestic self-supplied pumpage; this distribution is from 1960-2001 by 5-year increments. In addition, the pumpage and population from the Public Water Supply systems that are non-municipal and without a waste-water treatment plant will be used to estimate recharge from those systems.
  4. The report documenting the modularized DPM model is currently being changed and checked in response to in-house reviews. The report will than receive colleague reviews.
  5. A report documenting the methods and results of estimating ground-water recharge has been started on. Excluding the results, most sections of this report have been written.

Hydraulic characteristics

  1. The construction of the ground-water flow models is being used to help analyze the hydraulic characteristics for the basin-fill deposits. Future work will continue on analyzing aquifer test information.

Ground-water flow models

  1. The extents and tops of the hydrogeologic units for basins 1-5 were initially used to develop grid systems for five ground-water flow models.
  2. The model selected for use was the latest USGS’s MODFLOW model within the newest version of the Groundwater Modeling System (GMS) software. The model cell sizes are on the order of 500 by 500 feet. Model layering has been established but can be readily changed using GMS.
  3. Preliminary, conceptual steady-state models have been established for the first five basins for predevelopment conditions. Recharge in the models is based on the results of the work completed as part of this project that was described above. Models will be initially analyzed based on average conditions for a year and on base-flow conditions.
  4. The model for basin 5 was reanalyzed when developing the model for basin
  5. It was decided to extend the boundary of the basin 5 model to include the western parts of basin 6 that have similar basin-fill materials. The basin 6 model now includes a smaller area; this area includes some hydrogeologic units that are unique to the study area. Basin 5 and 6 models share a common boundary. As part of this process, it was also decided to extend the boundary of the basin 6 model to the Columbia River to improve its boundary conditions. Work is on-going in merging the hydrogeology of basin 6 with available hydrogeology from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation area.

Project status for February, 2005-September, 2005

Well information

  1. All work has been completed related to gathering and compiling well information. Files generated as part of this work will be used to estimate typical depths of wells by census block in order to represent ground-water pumpage from exempt wells in a reasonable manner in the ground-water flow models. Information from selected wells form the basis for part of the work for estimating pumpage associated with water rights and this information has been merged with the water-right information.

Hydrogeology

  1. The mapping of hydrogeologic units for the basin-fill deposits in basins 1-5 has been completed.
  2. The thickness of each of the six units identified in much of basin 6 is being mapped based on a combination of previous work, picks of units from individual well logs, and a map of the top of the basalts constructed as part of the current study. Differences between the thicknesses and extents of units mapped in previous work and between the detailed surficial geology from the Department of Natural Resources are also being reconciled.
  3. Writing has continued on the report describing the methods, data sources, and results of mapping the thicknesses of units in the six basins.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. Seepage runs were conducted for the Cle Elum River and on the Yakima River from Cle Elum to the head of the Yakima Canyon, from Roza Dam to the mouth of the Naches River, and from Parker to Prosser. The latter was a repeat of an earlier run in 2001 in order to verify values and to check reproducibility of results.
  2. Most of the results of the seepage runs have been compiled in one file and also have been mapped.
  3. The measured discharge values have been input into NWIS.
  4. Older, existing publications are being reviewed to locate previous analyses of ground-water gains and losses.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. Pumpage estimates have been made for Public Water Supply Systems in the basin for the period 1960 through 2000. These estimates are based on observed, extrapolated, or estimated values. Pumpage for all Department of Health Group A and Group B systems was estimated.
  2. Pumpage estimates have been completed for wells that withdraw water for irrigation use. This category includes only wells with water rights. Frost protection is generally included in this category.
  3. Pumpage estimates have been completed for livestock and dairy use wells with a) water rights and b) the right does not have an allowable use of irrigation. The dairy-use estimate also includes some small dairies that operate using exempt wells.
  4. Pumpage estimates have been completed for wells with water rights having purposes of either fish or wildlife propagation.
  5. Pumpage estimates have been completed for self-supplied, domestic use. This category includes the exempt wells in the basin and the few wells with a water right with a single allowable use for a domestic household. The estimates are for 5-year increments starting in 1960 and they are spatially distributed by the census blocks established for the 2000 Census.
  6. Work is continuing on estimating pumpage for wells with commercial and industrial uses.
  7. The ground-water claims file has been analyzed by both the Department of Ecology and the USGS staff in order to estimate which claims may not have had pumpage estimated under one of the categories described above. Currently, the number of claims in that category is about 1,400 (a reduction from about 16,600) and further analysis will be completed on this final group of claims.
  8. A report documenting the methods used for estimating pumpage and the results is being written.
  9. As part of the on-going work described above, depths of open intervals of the larger production wells in the basin are being added to the pumpage files. This will allow the ground-water flow models to simulate well pumpage from the correct hydrogeologic unit. In addition, the pumpage files, by category, are being developed to include as much pertinent information as possible for the modeling work, including such aspects as the date the well came ‘on-line’ or went ‘off-line’ for such reasons as a well deepening or replacement.
  10. Work has also started on developing the framework for model pumpage files for the municipal systems for which there are multiple wells with measured data. The open-interval information for these wells has already been compiled in digital format.

Ground-water recharge

  1. The USGS Weasel (An Interface for the Development of Spatial Parameters for Physical Process Modeling) was modified in order to calculate parameters for the DPM models. The modifications were done by USGS researchers in Denver, CO.
  2. The USGS’s Deep Percolation Model (DPM), which was modularized for inclusion into the USGS’s MMS as part of this project, was used to estimate recharge for 14 areas for predevelopment land-cover conditions. The original plans included 13 areas but due to the large size of the areas and the small model cell size, one area was further sub-divided. The size of the modeled areas ranges from about 25 to 535 square miles. For 13 of the 14 areas, the model cell sizes range from 500 feet (about 5.4 acres) to 1200 feet (about 31 acres), resulting in 3,000 to 9,300 cells per modeled area. The total number of modeled cells was about 75,000. Square cells were used instead of tax parcels due to computer size limitations.
  3. The basic DPM parameters that were established as part of the predevelopment modeling will also be able to be used for the current condition models. New parameters representing such factors as land use/cover for current conditions and irrigation application rates are being developed.

Hydraulic characteristics

  1. Lateral hydraulic conductivity values of hydrogeologic units that were estimated from specific capacity information were used as the first estimates for the ground-water flow models. Work will continue on analyzing aquifer test information.

Ground-water flow models

  1. The extents and tops of the hydrogeologic units for basins 1-5 were used to develop grid systems for five ground-water flow models.
  2. The model selected for use was the latest USGS’s MODFLOW model within the newest version of the Groundwater Modeling System (GMS) software. The model cell sizes are on the order of 300 by 300 feet. Model layering has been established but can be readily changed using GMS.
  3. Preliminary, conceptual steady-state models have been established for the first five basins for predevelopment conditions. Recharge in the models is based on the results of the work completed as part of this project that was described above. Models will be initially analyzed based on average conditions for a year and on base-flow conditions.
  4. Currently, all five models are operating with numerical closure and are producing results that are reasonable.
  5. Additional information, such as detailed stream channel geometry, is being put into each model where available.
  6. Information such as location of springs, flowing wells (current or historic), and ground-water levels are being mapped and analyzed to refine the conceptual model for each basin. Much of this work is oriented to mapping and analyzing the ground-water levels.

Project status for July, 2003-March, 2004

Well information

  1. Well information for wells being used for the hydrogeologic or the water use framework were being input into NWIS(code to forms, entered, and verified) if these wells were not visited during this study and the information was not in NWIS. The time consumptiveness of this work limited the amount of wells that were coded. The remaining wells will be directly ‘dumped’ into NWIS after the completion of hydrogeologic framework; these wells will be identified as not having been checked or verified.

Hydrogeology

  1. The thickness of the basin-fill deposits has been mapped for the six defined sedimentary basins.
  2. The thickness contours for the six basins have been digitized and checked, edited, and updated if necessary.
  3. All locations and wells for cross-sections through the sedimentary basins have been defined. Plotting of the sections has been completed for the first 3 basins, and the first 2 basins have been analyzed based on the sections. Work for the sections for the next 3 basins is on-going, with basin 4 sections plotted and available.
  4. The top of the hydrogeologic units contained in the sediments for basins 1 and 2 have been mapped. The thickness maps for these units are being constructed based on those tops, total basin-fill thickness (top of bedrock), and land-surface altitude. This work also involved the re-analysis of well information and total basin thickness.
  5. The alluvium has been mapped for basin 3 and the top of the unconsolidated and semi-consolidated sediments are being mapped.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. A temperature profile was completed for the Teanaway-to-Thorp reach during lower flows in September.
  2. A seepage run was conducted for the Parker to Kiona reach.
  3. Discharge measurements were made for Satus Creek from near the county line to above North Drain.
  4. A series of discharge measurements were made for the American River, and several smaller creeks (Taneum, Manastash, and Cowiche).
  5. Data for a historical seepage run for Ahtanum Creek was located.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. The gathering and compiling of selected information for ground-water pumpage by public water-supply systems has continued, and is now nearly complete. The data that have been entered into files have been re-checked for all systems and units of data have been verified.
  2. Pumpage information was obtained for some ofthe remaining Department of Health Group A wells and some of the Group B wells. This data have been entered into files and then verified. Data for some of the larger A systems are being searched out.
  3. Census data is being used to extrapolate and interpolate annual public supply withdrawal rates over time. The monthly values will be based on the mean percent of annual for the observed (1-above) period of record.
  4. All ‘uncoded’ (not in NWIS) well driller logs have been gone through. If a well had a ¼-¼-section identified, then the basic information available for that well was included in a digital flat file. This file contains, if available for a well, a local number, use, depth, diameter, casing information, water level, specific capacity data, and date drilled. There were some 10,000 of these wells.
  5. Because there were still about a 1,000 uncoded wells that did not have a ¼-¼-section identified, the logs for these wells were gone through and locations determined (when possible) to the ¼-section or if there was a tax-parcel number, to the ¼-¼-section. A similar flat file like 4-above was generated for some 850 wells. The remaining logs were put in a digital file that contains any location information (t/r/s/, t/r) and depth and date.
  6. On-going work includes matching as many as possible of the well logs to the water-right permit or certificate number. The goal is to merge all files and to relate rights to observed or estimated pumpage. For wells already in NWIS, the water right number was added if it was not in the database. For wells not in NWIS (uncoded wells), a digital flat file like 4-above was generated; this file also includes the name on the well log, which is in WRATS.
  7. Based on location (center of ¼-¼ or ¼-section) for the uncoded wells in 4-6 above, the latitude and longitude were determined and the altitude was found from either a 30-m or 10-meter digital elevation model.

Ground-water recharge

  1. The USGS’s Deep Percolation Model (DPM) has been modularized (software re-written) for inclusion into MMS. Testing of the modularized model was completed and documentation of the model is on-going.
  2. Information needed to operate DPM and to assess recharge is being gathered and compiled. This includes the comparison of two basin-wide distributions of irrigated lands that is currently being done. The results from these comparisons will also provide information for helping to estimate agricultural pumpage.
  3. Distributions for irrigated lands for several areas were obtained. Some of these areas are large, for example, much of Kittitas County, and some are very small, for example, part the North drain basin that drains to lower Satus Creek.
  4. Field visits were made to verify or check identified areas of irrigated lands, especially in areas outside of the irrigation districts. These field visits included a general identifying of crop type.
  5. The least-defined land-use data for crop types were for the Toppenish Basin (improved data are still being searched out). Based on this fact, field work was conducted to identify, by tax parcel, the crop types of vineyards, hops, and orchards.
  6. On-going work includes the merging of the various crop type/irrigation method coverages or identifications into the basin-wide coverage. Obtaining newer data for Benton County is also being pursued.
  7. Soil information is being worked-up. The soil data needed include such properties as the total available water capacity, total depth, lateral conductivity, specific yield, vertical infiltration rate of the subsoil, and a soil texture identification number. Several of these properties are calculated based on the soil information in national or provided databases.

Hydraulic characteristics

  1. The program to estimate lateral hydraulic conductivity was modified to make it easier to accept various types of aquifer materials.
  2. A listing of wells with specific capacity or pump test information was generated. The files of well logs will be checked to determine if there are other wells that have that information.

Project status for January, 2003-June, 2003

Well information

  1. Ground-water levels for wells with long-term records that have been previously published by the USGS in old Water Supply Papers and Annual Data Reports are being checked that they are in USGS’s National Water Information System (NWIS). These levels are being updated and verified if necessary.
  2. Well information for wells that were not visited during this study and the information was not in NWIS is being input into NWIS if the information from the well is being used for the hydrogeologic framework or water use framework.
  3. The water-level data from selected wells of the City of Yakima that have been equipped with water-level dataloggers were downloaded for the last time for this study. The data have been input into NWIS. The dataloggers were pulled from the wells at the time of the last download as they were discontinued by the City.

Hydrogeology

  1. The thickness of the basin-fill deposits has been mapped for five of the six previously defined sedimentary basins.
  2. The thickness contours for four of the six basins have been digitized and the digitizing of the fifth basin’s contours has started.
  3. The digitized contours for 3 of the basins have been checked, edited, and updated. This work also involved the re-analysis of well information.
  4. Previously published maps of structure (faults, folds, and dikes) and structure contours of the top of the Wanapum and Grande Ronde Basalts have been digitized and checked.
  5. Selected available geologic and hydrogeologic information for the sixth sedimentary basin has been gathered and is currently being input into GIS.
  6. All locations and wells for cross-sections through the sedimentary basins have been defined. Plotting of the sections has been tested and the sections are ready for analysis after completion of the mapping of the thickness of the sixth sedimentary basin.
  7. Historical geophysical information collected during the 1960’s by Washington State University have been brought into a database and plotted for future analysis.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. The report describing the method that was developed, tested, and applied to thermally profile long river reaches has received colleague review.
  2. The water level and temperature data for the stream-aquifer study sites were downloaded from the dataloggers for the last time and input into NWIS. The dataloggers were pulled from the wells.
  3. The ground water-surface data that have been collected are currently being compiled for analysis.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. The gathering and compiling of selected information for ground-water pumpage by public water-supply systems has continued. For selected systems with more than one year of record, the time-history of per capita use is being calculated.
  2. Forms are being sent out for gathering pumpage information for:1) the remaining Department of Health Group A wells for which data has not yet been compiled or gathered (these wells have water rights), and2) most of the Group B wells.
  3. Analysis of power consumption coefficients for irrigation pumpage has continued.
  4. Census data is being used to extrapolate and interpolate public supply withdrawal rates over time.
  5. On-going work still includes matching as many as possible of the well logs to water rights permits or certificates numbers. This work element has included the generation of files for water rights, public supply wells, NWIS wells, and Department of Ecology’slower-basin GIS database wells. The goal is to merge all files and to relate rights to observed or estimated pumpage.

Ground-water recharge

  1. The USGS’s Deep Percolation Model (DPM) has been modularized for inclusion into MMS. Testing is nearly completed.
  2. Information needed to operate DPM and to assess recharge is being gathered and compiled. Comparisons of several distributions of irrigated lands are currently being done. These comparisons will also provide information for helping to estimate agricultural pumpage.

Project status as of December 2002

Well information

  1. The final spring mass water-level measurement and well inventory were conducted in March 2002 by personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and Washington State Department of Ecology. The inventory was extended as part of the mass-measurement in order to fill in spatial gaps from the previous inventories. Water-level data has now been collected for 2 complete cycles: fall 2000, spring 2001, fall 2001, and spring 2002.
  2. Well information (both field collected and reported on the driller's log) for all inventoried wells was input into the USGS's National Water Information System (NWIS). In addition to the measured water levels, all historical water levels for the visited wells, about 18,865 water levels, were entered. The entered information was also checked and verified. Data is for about 1,900 wells inventoried and the data are available for retrieval from NWIS through the NWIS web site: http://wa.waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/gw. Both historical water levels and those measured in this study for the visited wells are posted at the Yakima Ground-Water Project web site: http://wa.water.usgs.gov/yakimagw/.
  3. Selected information for wells from the Yakima ground-water project and other studies for which wells were field located have been input into Rockworks, a software package. The total number of wells for both categories is about 4,883 (see the map of spatial distribution of these wells [PDF, 3.7 MB] in the Maps section). The drillers' descriptions of geologic materials in well logs from about 3,010 of these wells were input into the Rockworks software in order to facilitate mapping of hydrogeologic units.
  4. The water-level data from those wells of the City of Yakima equipped with water-level dataloggers were downloaded on a continual basis and input into NWIS. These continuous records should provide valuable information on drawdown and recovery, in addition to any trends. The help of Mr. David Brown from the City of Yakima is greatly appreciated.

Hydrogeology

  1. The surficial geology has been compiled digitally in a GIS (Geographic Information System) from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' 1:100,000 scale GIS-data sets. There were 512 identified geologic units for this database.
  2. The spatial distribution of the GIS data was first reduced in spatial extent to cover only the study area. The data was then processed to remove digital errors, such as duplicate polygons. The resulting spatial distribution of the units [PDF, 3.6 MB], about 420, is shown on a map in the Maps section.
  3. The 420 units were then analyzed based on similar hydrogeologic properties and aggregated into about 60 units. The aggregation was done in such a manner that all aggregated units can be linked back to the original, published mapped unit.
  4. Many of the small, localized units that were identified as landslide and talus deposits were aggregated with the appropriate geologic unit.
  5. Based on the spatial distribution of unconsolidated (non-bedrock) deposits, generalized boundaries of the sedimentary basins (basins with extensive basin-fill deposits) were defined. The initial mapping of hydrogeologic units will be for the deposits in these basins. This mapping work will include refining the basin boundaries because no estimate of the thickness of any of the units composed of unconsolidated deposits was made.
  6. Selected information from maps of hydrogeologic and geologic units, which were not included with the 1:100,000 GIS data set, were digitized into GIS coverages. Such information included maps published in a thesis. Final checking of the digitized data will be done in 2003.
  7. Work has started on selecting wells whose data will be used for constructing cross-sections and mapping the thickness of the basin-fill deposits, starting with the most upstream basin.

Ground water-surface water interactions

  1. Four stream-aquifer study sites along the Yakima River were identified (see the map [PDF, 125 KB] in the Maps section) in 2000. To monitor these sites, fourteen shallow ground-water piezometers were drilled (3 each at 2 sites and 4 each at the other 2 sites). To continuously monitor water levels, 3 piezometers at each site were equipped with dataloggers. To measure continuous streamflow stage (the river's water level) stilling-wells were installed at the 4 stream-aquifer study sites and equipped with a datalogger. Temperature dataloggers were also deployed in each piezometer and in the river near each stilling well. In addition, water levels in 6 piezometers, which were previously installed by the University of Montana as part of the USBR Reaches Study (http://www.umt.edu/biology/flbs/yakima/default.htm), are measured on a regular basis and a temperature datalogger has been deployed in each.
  2. The water level and temperature data for the stream-aquifer study sites were downloaded on a regular basis from the dataloggers and input into NWIS. Water-level measurements have been made at piezometers that are not equipped with a datalogger.
  3. There were some equipment losses due to either theft (streamflow-temperature dataloggers), damage from cows in the riparian area (streamflow-temperature dataloggers), or flooding (streamflow-temperature dataloggers and streamflow and aquifer water-level dataloggers). For the 2 sites that the streamflow water-level dataloggers were lost, dataloggers were moved from one of the shallow ground-water piezometers to the streamflow-measuring site.
  4. There was some loss of data due to either river stage dropping below the bottom of a stilling well during the 2001 drought, battery failure, or logger failure. In November 2002, 3 of the water-level loggers failed and they were taken out of service. Two of these loggers were for surface-water sites, and each was replaced with a datalogger from a nearby, shallow ground-water piezometer.
  5. A preliminary analysis of the data indicates that it displays interesting characteristics. For example, most sites show temporally consistent water-level rises during increasing river stage, but no temporally consistent rise in temperature. The data should provide useful information at a small spatial scale, and at a larger scale because of the information from the piezometers that are not close to the river. Generally, high-water events are clearly identifiable in the data.
  6. A method was developed, tested, and applied to thermally profile long river reaches, on the order of 5 to 15 miles, in a day. The method was used to estimate areas of ground-water discharge and to document summer thermal habitat for salmonids. Seven reaches were profiled during the summer (the low-flow drought period) of 2001. These reaches were the Wapatox and Naches reaches on the Naches River, the Wapato, Toppenish, Granger, and Easton reaches on the Yakima River, and the Cle Elum reach on the lower Cle Elum River (see map [PDF, 125 KB] in the Maps section). Two of these reaches, Wapato and Toppenish, were repeated to test the reproducibility of the method and to further analyze areas of estimated ground-water discharge. In the winter of 2002, the first mile of the Cle Elum reach was repeated to verify that areas of ground-water discharge estimated in the summer were consistent in the winter, and to document the thermal profile over salmon redds. The thermal profile data that was collected has been processed and a journal article has been drafted describing the method and preliminary results based on this data. The article is presently in the peer review process.
  7. An additional 6 thermal profiles were conducted during fiscal year 2001. These profiles were for the lower Teanaway River, the Yakima Canyon, Prosser to Benton City, Thorp to Ellensburg, the Crystal Springs reach, and a re-profile of the Wapatox reach-the first reach completed using this new profiling method (see map [PDF, 125 KB] in the Maps section). In addition, 2 reaches outside the basin (one for the Methow River and one for the Stehekin River) were profiled to provide comparison data for the Yakima Basin data. The data collected during fiscal year 2002 were processed. The data will be analyzed to estimate the starting and ending points of areas of groundwater discharge. These areas are identifiable based on deviations from the diurnal heating.
  8. Stream discharge measurements were made to determine if reaches or areas of ground-water discharge could be located. The first measurements were made along the Yakima Canyon during December 2000, when some of the lowest discharges observed in the Canyon were occurring due to the first effects of the 2001 drought combined with the onset of very cold weather. In July of 2001, during the drought, a series of measurements were made from Parker to Toppenish, and in September, after flip-flop reservoir operations, measurements were made from Easton to near the mouth of the Cle Elum River. Discharge measurements were completed in August 2002, prior to flip-flop reservoir operations, for the Tieton River (from below the headworks diversion to near the mouth) and for part of the Naches River.
  9. Mini-piezometer measurements were made in the summer of 2001 and 2002 on the Yakima and Naches River. The measurements along the Yakima River were for the Wapato reach (2001) and part of the Toppenish reach (2002). The Naches River measurements were conducted along the river from below the Wapatox diversion dam to near the mouth. Mini-piezometer measurements involve the placement of small-diameter wells through the streambed and concurrently measuring the water level in the piezometer and the river. A difference in water levels between the two measurements indicates the direction of ground-water flow. The Naches River data appear to be consistent with the thermal profile data.

Ground-water pumpage

  1. Selected information for ground-water pumpage by public water-supply systems was gathered and compiled during 2001. The data that were available only in paper format were digitized. The analysis of the data started in 2002 and will continue in this fiscal year.
  2. Field-testing and training occurred during 2002 for using a Panametrics flow meter to make instantaneous discharge measurements. Project staff was first trained in Colorado, as part of a State Engineers' course. Additional training was completed during fieldwork in the Yakima Basin. An expert from the USGS's Colorado Water Science Center conducted this training.
  3. Over 50 irrigation wells were visited during 2002 for making instantaneous flow measurements. Measurements were only made if the well system met certain requirements such as a minimum distance between an elbow and a straight section of pipe.
  4. Ongoing (2002-2003) compilation of the instantaneous measurement data will provide some of the data from which irrigation pumpage will be estimated.
  5. During the summer of 2002, USGS personnel gathered available irrigation pumping information from property owners of selected wells. The wells were ones that had operational flow meters and for which readings were recorded.
  6. Ongoing work also includes matching as many as possible of the well logs to water rights permits or certificates numbers.

Ground-water recharge

  1. Daily estimates of recharge were calculated using 4 watershed models that were developed as part of a joint USGS-USBR program, the Watershed and River System Management Program (http://wa.water.usgs.gov/warsmp/warsmp.html). The models were constructed as part of a Decision Support System and are included in the USGS's Modular Modeling System (MMS). The recharge estimates were for water years 1951-1998 for 1,110 hydrologically similar areas in the Yakima River Basin. These areas cover some 3,663 square miles and include all of the forested uplands. They also account for about 90 percent of the streamflow in the Yakima River Basin and are relatively unaffected by diversion or irrigation. The daily recharge estimates will be analyzed in 2003.
  2. For the lowland areas, which include all of the agricultural lands and most of the population centers, recharge will be estimated using the USGS's Deep Percolation Model (DPM). The DPM calculates recharge using a daily water budget based on land-surface processes for a selected area with an identified landuse/landcover and defined soil properties. The DPM is currently being modularized for inclusion into MMS.

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