Hood Canal has experienced substantial population growth the past few decades, especially along the shoreline, bringing an increased demand for water resources from local aquifers.

There are more than 7,200 water wells in Hood Canal right now; 256 of them were installed between 2010-2014 alone and 112 of them are located within one mile of the Hood Canal shoreline, according to a report recently released by treaty tribes of Western Washington, the State of Our Watersheds.

There are concerns that increased pumping form aquifers in this area would likely lead to saltwater intrusion from Hood Canal into those aquifers.

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In addition, groundwater levels are affected by the wells that tap into that resource.

Most of Washington’s rivers and streams depend on groundwater from late summer streamflow. During the drier summer months, when flows are typically the lowest of the year, groundwater flowing into the stream is frequently providing almost all of the streamflow.

The amount of groundwater available also is crucial to fish habitat, reproduction and survival.

From the report:

Use and consumption typically results in decrease in groundwater. Streamflow affects fish habitat in many ways, including the amount and distribution of spawning and rearing habitat; the risk of damaging incubating eggs or larval fish by scour or desiccation;, risk of stranding fish in low flows; and the physical factors that form and maintain stream channels.

The cumulative withdrawls of groundwater associated with the recent proliferation of water wells has led to concerns of instream flow, salmon habitat, public health and senior water right impact.