The Methow Watershed Council, Department of Ecology, Twin Lakes Aquifer Coalition (TLAC), and Wolf Creek Reclamation District (WCRD) have partnered to develop a proposed water project, the Wolf Creek Twin Lakes Storage Pilot Project.
Since the early 2000’s, the water levels of the Twin Lakes have generally been significantly below historical levels. This has effects on water storage, domestic wells, ground water inflow into the main stem Methow River, and water quality, recreation, wild life habitat and associated community values in and around the lakes. WCRD has investigated ways to conserve water in their system and operations, and has found approximately 200 acre-feet (AF) of water per year that can be saved and used to help the Twin Lakes situation. The water saving will come from installing water level control automation at the screen box. This water would be conveyed to the vicinity of Twin Lakes using mostly existing WCRD pipes, with some additional pipe needed at the downstream end. Water put into Twin Lakes during the irrigation season would recharge the aquifer, resulting in year-round flow of groundwater into the mainstem of the Methow River.
This is a pilot project, expected to begin before the 2019 irrigation season, and will last two to four years, giving affected parties the opportunity to test assumptions about project operations and make actual observations about conditions resulting from the operations. Results of the pilot will be used to refine lake/aquifer storage volumes and expected instream flow benefits, including quantities available for mitigation of new out-of-stream uses under permanent project development. Monitoring will be conducted during the pilot to help update calibration of a computer model that simulates surface and groundwater behavior. While the pilot project is considered essential for the success of a permanent project, it is not a certainty that a permanent project will result.