YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - A long-awaited federal study of groundwater in the Yakima River basin shows that a substantial amount of water is lost to the river because of groundwater pumping and use.
The report released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates, on average, that groundwater pumping reduces river flows by 200 cubic feet per second by the time the river drains into the Columbia River.
Federally mandated target streamflows range from 300 to 600 cubic feet per second, depending on runoff, just upstream.
The study was commissioned by the state Department of Ecology, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Yakama Nation. In a joint statement, Ecology's Ken Slattery called the numbers "sobering."