City of Auburn
Project: Water Rights Investigations
Location: Auburn, Washington
Auburn, Washington, is a rapidly growing community that has required increasing
amounts of groundwater to meet its needs. Although the city sits on a
highly prolific glacial aquifer system, the process for obtaining water
rights is complicated by stream closures along the nearby White and Green
Rivers, which are hydraulically connected to aquifers in some places.
This project posed many challenges because of its large area, lack of
reliable data, complex glacial hydrostratigraphy, and high level of public
scrutiny. The stream closures required us to quantify the complex relationships
between groundwater and surface water—a difficult task even with
a comprehensive flow model.
Our characterization work for this project spanned
a 5-year period. In addition to conducting extensive research on the area’s
hydrogeology, we designed and implemented a major field exploration program
Using data from driller’s and geologic logs, we
developed over 30 cross sections to characterize the hydrostratigraphy
of the upland and valley regions. We also analyzed water-level data to
assess groundwater flow patterns and stream-gauge data to assess trends
in surface water flow. The results of these analyses, along with information
from published reports, were integrated into a conceptual hydrogeologic
model that described the area’s hydrostratigraphy, groundwater flow
patterns, and stream–aquifer relationships.
Our conceptual hydrogeologic model formed the basis for developing a comprehensive
groundwater flow model. A valuable tool for water-resource planning, the
flow model simulates the effects of various pumping scenarios on the region’s
groundwater and surface-water systems.
Protection / City of Auburn: Wellhead Protection Studies
Modeling / City of Auburn: Hydrogeologic Characterization & Groundwater