Summary appraisals of the Nation's ground-water resources; Pacific Northwest region

Professional Paper 813-S



The Pacific Northwest Region's ground-water reservoirs are capable of providing large additional fresh-water supplies; these reservoirs become more important as undeveloped surface-storage sites and unapportioned surface-water supplies dwindle. Withdrawals of fresh water from all surface and underground sources are increasing; they may rise from the rate of 30 billion gallons per day in 1970 to about 60 billion gallons per day in 2020. By 1975 the withdrawal of ground water had increased 70 percent over the 1970 rate and accounted for 22 percent of total fresh-water withdrawal. Substantial increases in ground-water withdrawal must continue if projected water demands are to be met in the future.

Large variations exist in the availability of and needs for ground water in the region, largely because of the great variety of landforms, climate, and earth materials. More than one-half the region is underlain by rock materials capable of yielding ground water to wells at moderate to large rates; six extensive areas are identified as major ground-water reservoirs. The most significant current problems pertaining to one or more of these ground-water reservoirs are: (1) Progressively declining water levels; (2) water-quality problems; (3) waterlogging; (4) inadequate information; and (5) competition for available supplies. In the future these same problems are expected to persist and generally worsen (especially water-quality deterioration) in most of the major reservoir areas.

Management opportunities in the region include: (1) Development of new supplies and additional uses of ground water; (2) protection and enhancement of water quality; (3) reduction of waterlogging; (4) energy development from some ground-water reservoirs; (5) improving access to the ground water; (6) increased use of underground space for storage and disposal; and (7) greater use of advanced management and conservation techniques. Conjunctive use of surface and ground water to provide greater available supplies probably is the most promising water-management opportunity. However, if the full potential of the ground-water resources is to be realized, important constraints, including present water-right structures and serious deficiencies in information, must be overcome.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Summary appraisals of the Nation's ground-water resources; Pacific Northwest region
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 813
Chapter S
DOI 10.3133/pp813S
Year Published 1979
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Oregon Water Science Center
Description vi, 39 p.
Country United States
State California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details