Ground-water resources in the Hood Basin, Oregon

Water-Resources Investigations Report 81-1108

Prepared in cooperation with Wasco and Hood River Counties



The Hood Basin, an area of 1,035 square miles in north-central Oregon, includes the drainage basins of all tributaries of the Columbia River between Eagle Creek and Fifteenmile Creek. The physical characteristics and climate of the basin are diverse. The Wasco subarea, in the eastern half of the basin, has moderate relief, mostly intermittent streams, and semiarid climate. The Hood subarea, in the western half, has rugged topography, numerous perennial streams, and a humid climate.

Water-bearing geologic units that underlie the basin include volcanic, volcaniclastic, and sedimentary rocks of Miocene to Holocene age, and unconsolidated surficial deposits of Pleistocene and Holocene age. The most important water-bearing unit, the Columbia River Basalt Group, underlies almost the entire basin. Total thickness probably exceeds 2,000 feet, but by 1980 only the upper 1,000 feet or less had been developed by wells. Wells in this unit generally yield from 15 to 1,000 gallons per minute and a few yield as much as 3,300 gallons per minute.

The most productive aquifer in the Columbia River Basalt Group is The Dalles Ground Water Reservoir, a permeable zone of fractured basalt about 25 to 30 square miles in extent that underlies the city of The Dalles. During the late 1950's and mid-1960's, withdrawals of 15,000 acre-feet per year or more caused water levels in the aquifer to decline sharply. Pumpage had diminished to about 5,000 acre-feet per year in 1979 and water levels have stabilized, indicating that ground water recharge and discharge, including the pumping, are in balance.

The other principal geologic units in the basin have more limited areal distribution and less saturated thickness than the Columbia River Basalt Group. Generally, these units are capable of yielding from a few to a hundred gallons per minute to wells.

Most of the ground water in the basin is chemically suitable for domestic, irrigation, or other uses. Some ground water has objectionable concentrations of iron (0.3 to 6.4 milligrams per liter) and manganese (0.05 to 1.2 milligrams per liter) or is moderately hard to very hard (60 to 260 milligrams per liter as CaCO3).

The principal use of ground water in the Hood Basin is for irrigation of crops, with an estimated withdrawal of 7,700 acre-feet in 1979. Additional ground-water withdrawals in 1979 were estimated as: Industrial, 2,600 acre-feet; public supply, 2,100 acre-feet; and domestic and stock supply, 200 acre-feet.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water resources in the Hood Basin, Oregon
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Portland, OR
Contributing office(s):
Oregon Water Science Center
Report: viii, 58 p.; 2 Plates: 36.05 x 37.78 inches and 30.57 x 37.96 inches
United States
Other Geospatial:
Hood Basin