Spokane River Watersheds

Watershed Planning & Implementation for WRIAs 54, 55, 56, & 57

WRIA 55-57 Past Projects

Numerous projects were completed within WRIA 55/57  during the development of the watershed plan, development of the detailed implementation plan, and implementation  of both plans.  Links to the project reports are provided below.alt

Watershed Planning Technical Studies: A significant amount of technical information was necessary to inform the development of the watershed plan.  The following studies were completed for this data gathering effort:

Little Spokane River Hydrogeologic Studies: A data gap recognized during the development of the watershed plan and implementation plan was data related to the hydrogeology of the Little Spokane River Basin (WRIA 55)  The group invested in hydrogeologic data gathering, culminating in a study conducted by the USGS.

Surface Water Storage & Wetland Restoration: A key issue in water resource planning is stream flow during the late summer months.  During this time of the year water demand is at it's highest and stream flows are at their lowest. One strategy to deal with this issue is to store water during the spring time and release it during the late summer months.  Another is to restore wetlands so that water during the spring is retained rather than running off, and recharges groundwater, which supports late summer stream flow.

Little Spokane Water Bank Feasibility Study

Spokane County, in conjunction with Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties, is evaluated the use of a water bank in Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 55, the Little Spokane Watershed.

A water bank is an institutional mechanism that facilitates transfer of senior water rights between buyers and sellers.  While individual parties can currently buy and sell water rights without a water bank, a water bank can reduce transaction costs and allow the distribution of one large water right to multiple small uses.

The feasibility study includes 7 tasks:

  1. Development of a Policy Advisory Group to guide and inform all aspects of the project.
  2. Evaluation of water bank structural and operational options.
  3. Evaluation of demand.
  4. Evaluation of supply.
  5. Market evaluation.
  6. Development of an operational framework
  7. Development of a final report.

The project is funded by a grant from the Department of Ecology.

Project Documents

Spokane County developed a water bank for WRIA 55 and began operation in January 2018.  More information can be found at: