The Lower and Combined Aquifers of the Eastbank Aquifer system, located in a river-terrace deposit along the Columbia River near Rocky Reach Dam, Washington, are primarily recharged by the Columbia River and provide water to the Eastbank Hatchery and the regional water system servicing the cities of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, and parts of unincorporated Chelan and Douglas Counties. In 2006, mean annual pumpage from the aquifers by the hatchery and regional water system was about 43 and 16 cubic feet per second, respectively. Reportedly, temperatures of ground water pumped by the hatchery have been increasing, thereby making water potentially too warm for salmonid fish production. An evaluation of hourly ground-water and river temperatures from January 1991 through August 2007 indicates increasing interannual trends in temperatures in most of the Lower and Combined Aquifers from 1999 through 2006 that correspond to increasing trends in the annual mean and annual maximum river temperatures during the same period of 0.07 and 0.17?C per year, respectively. There were no trends in the annual minimum river temperatures from 1999 through 2006, and there were no trends in the annual minimum, mean, and maximum river temperatures from 1991 through 1998 and from 1991 through 2007. Increases in river temperatures from 1999 through 2006 are within the natural variability of the river temperatures.
Most of the Lower and Combined Aquifers reached thermal equilibrium?defined by constant time lags between changes in river temperatures and subsequent changes in ground-water temperatures?during 1991?98. The only exceptions are the Combined Aquifer north of the well field of the regional water system, which had not reached thermal equilibrium by 2006, and the Lower Aquifer west of the well fields of the hatchery and the regional water system, which reached thermal equilibrium prior to 1991. Because most of the Lower and Combined Aquifers were in thermal equilibrium from 1999 through 2006 and seasonal pumpage patterns were relatively stable, reported trends of increasing temperatures of water pumped by the hatchery well field are most likely explained by increasing trends in river temperatures. Most of the water pumped by the hatchery well field recharges in an area west to southwest of the well field about 2 months prior to the time it is pumped from the aquifer. The northern extent of the hatchery well field may pump some colder water from a bedrock depression to the north and west of the well field. The conceptual model of hydrologic and thermal conditions is supported by analyses of historical water temperatures, water-level data collected on July 18, 2007, and dissolved-constituent and bacterial concentrations in samples collected on August 20?22, 2007.