Consider yourself the proud owner of all the water in the lakes, rivers and streams of the state, as well as all the groundwater you don’t see. Under law, the water resources of Washington are owned in common by the people of our state, and the Department of Ecology works for you to manage those water resources for your benefit and the benefit of more than 6,970,000 residents of Washington.
Ecology was given the responsibility of managing your water resources when it was created by the Legislature in 1970.
One of the tools we use to do this is called an “instream flow rule.” That’s an odd sounding name but it is a tool with a vital purpose. A rule allows us to set specific levels of stream flows for a particular watershed and limit future surface and groundwater withdrawals accordingly — to ensure there is enough water in those rivers and streams to meet the current and future needs of people, fish and wildlife.
To tell the story of how we use instream flow rules and what they do for your water resources, we’ve produced a video embedded in this blog and available on YouTube.
It’s narrated by Jim Pacheco, an instream flow biologist for 12 years with Ecology’s Water Resources Program. He has worked on five of the 26 instream flow rules Ecology has adopted for watersheds in the state.
Managing our water supplies is more challenging than ever before. Population growth is increasing the demand for water at a time when climate change is affecting mountain snowpack — which provides our water storage for cities and farms.
After watching “Instream Flows: protecting our water suppy” if you want to learn more about the work of the Water Resources Program go to: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/wrhome.html