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More money for underground water study

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peninsula News Network

Is it possible to store water deep underneath the Dungeness Valley so it can be used later when the weather turns dry? That’s what Clallam County officials are hoping to learn with a new study, which received another $100,000-plus this week.

The idea of recharging, and storing water in the underground aquifers is part of the proposals been promoted for more efficient use of water as part of the watershed planning for the Water Resource Inventory Area 18, which includes the Dungeness and Elwha Rivers and their associated tributaries.

With both rivers showing near record low flows in recent summers, there’s been increasing concerns about having enough water for water for fish spawning and habitat, irrigation and residential use, especially with the increasing population in the area.

While the county has studied the aquifer before… those deep underground rivers that carry fresh water from the Olympics out into the Strait, no one’s ever looked into the idea of recharging that aquifer and keeping it healthy for water use in the drier times of the year.

This week, county commissioners accepted another $112,000 from the Department of Ecology for the feasibility study into the idea, bringing the total to more than $300,000. It will take a year-and-a-half to complete the report.


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