Managing Our Water photo identifier

Managing our Water

Monitoring and Measuring our Water

Washington’s waters provide irreplaceable safe drinking water for people, habitat for fish and wildlife, and recreation opportunities. Ecology and our partners work together to protect water quality and water supplies across the state. Our scientists monitor rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater, and saltwater the marine waters of Puget Sound and our coast to ensure that water quality and quantity continue to be protected.

  • Measuring Water Use - The measurement of ground water withdrawals or surface water diversions, commonly referred to as source metering, involves the installation of gauges or other measurement devices where water is withdrawn from the ground or diverted from surface water to determine how much water is being used.
  • Groundwater - Groundwater is one of Washington's most vital natural resources. Groundwater can be described as water that collects or flows beneath the Earth's surface, filling the porous spaces in soil, sediment, and rocks.  Groundwater largely originates from rain and from melting snow and ice and is the source of water for aquifers, springs, and wells.  The upper surface of groundwater saturation is called the water table.
  • Freshwater - Lakes, rivers and streams are important biological, commercial, and recreational resources. Monitoring rivers and streams is crucial for protecting habitat of salmon and other species, and ensuring water and food security.
  • Puget Sound and Coastal Waters - Puget Sound and the marine waters of Washington are central to the lives of people in Western Washington. This heritage is being threatened by toxics, bacteria, and increasing population pressure.