Ecology scientists help keep water flowing to 450 homes
The Cowlitz County city of Ryderwood is facing dangerously low water supply caused by the drought we’re experiencing in Western Washington. To help water managers, our scientists have installed a stream gage to help make decisions about residential water conservation measures.
|Ryderwood's water system serves 450 homes|
A history of low stream flow
Even in non-drought years water availability can be scarce by late summer. Last year, Campbell Creek did run dry. That forced emergency water restrictions where people limited their time in the shower and brushed their teeth without running the tap. Water managers were on the verge of having to truck in water when a rainstorm got things flowing again.
Our water scientists say that officials have tried to drill wells in the past, but they’ve been unproductive. The only other available water source would be the Cowlitz River. That would mean pumping water from over five miles away through rugged terrain – a cost-prohibitive option.
|Campbell Creek is nearly dry|
Providing valuable dataThanks to funding from our Water Resources Program, we were able to have our scientists install a stream gage (Read the story of why it's spelled gage and not gauge here.) on Campbell Creek this summer. The gage will provide water managers with real-time data on stream flow and water and air temperature. This information will help to more accurately predict when the stream might go dry, giving water managers more lead time to implement water conservation measures.
A town with two histories
By the early 1950s, the trees and the loggers were gone, and that ushered in Ryderwood’s second history which runs from 1953 to present. The entire town was sold for $90,000 and became what is believed to be the earliest “planned community for retired persons” in the United States.
Critical funding for our communities
|Scientists Andy Bookter and Tyler Buntain installing the gage|