More water drawn from Palouse aquifer in 2021
Last updated 2/25/2022 at 11:39am
PULLMAN – The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee reported Friday that 2.43 billion gallons of water was used by Pullman, Moscow, Washington State University and University of Idaho during 2021.
According to the committee, pumping increased 11.2% over 2020, with difference attributed to the return of college students after the previous year's coronavirus-related hiatus.
Officials said that spring 2021 was also warmer and drier than the previous year, accounting for some additional increase in pumping water out of the aquifer.
“Our 2020 number of 2.19 billion gallons was certainly skewed by COVID-related impacts and less activities in the communities and universities as well as a cooler, wetter spring–summer season," committee member Paul Kimmell said. "Weather certainly impacts our aquifer uses, especially during the summer irrigation season which consumes nearly 50% of our total water.”
Overall pumping demand since 1992 has decreased by 11.4% despite steady population growth in Moscow and Pullman, he said, noting per capita water use continues to shrink .
“We’re pleased that our PBAC entities continue to stay focused on water management and conservation,” Chairwoman and Pullman City Engineer Cara Haley said. “As part of PBAC’s 'Conserve, Stabilize, Thrive' campaign, it’s important that we inform our communities of ways to conserve water, the work being done to stabilize aquifer water levels, and ultimately insure our communities and universities will thrive in the years ahead.”