The Spokane Metro region is fortunate to have the Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie aquifer. This aquifer is beneath Spokane County in Washington and Kootenai County in Idaho and it supplies high quality water drinking water for over 500,000 people. With a volume of nearly 100 trillion gallons of water, it is one of the most productive aquifers in the country. Above ground, the Spokane region is home to four unique watersheds: the Middle Spokane River, Hangman Creek, Little Spokane River, and Lower Spokane River watersheds – which all converge in Spokane and feed into the Spokane River.
As more people move to the region every year and development expands from urban areas to the far reaches of our urban growth boundaries, it is crucial that we understand how the aquifer and Spokane River interact and recharge. To protect water quality for the many citizens of our region, it is important to track the aquifer’s water quantity.
The Lands Council participates in watershed planning groups in both Washington and Idaho, providing an important conservation perspective during these monthly meetings. In Washington, The Lands Council is an active member of the Spokane River Watersheds Regional Planning Group, while in Idaho we participate in the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River Watershed Advisory Group. This participation allows us to track changes in water quality plans and in-stream flow rules and allows us to give input on proposed water availability studies and water quality enhancement projects. From this work, we’ve been able to implement stream-side restoration on Deep and Coulee Creeks – both tributaries to the Spokane River . We’ve also been able to keep track of water volume patterns in the aquifer and above ground water, providing us with invaluable insight on the need for water conservation in the years to come.