The Water Resources Program serves Spokane County residents by protecting the quality and quantity of Spokane County surface and groundwater resources, now and into the future. It recognizes the many desired uses including domestic, agricultural, recreational, industrial, municipal and hydroelectric.
The purpose of the Water Resources Program is to:
- Participate in studies and planning efforts for the protection and use of surface and ground water resources in Spokane County,
- Serve as informed advisors on these issues to the Spokane County Board of Commissioners, other Spokane County Public Works departments, and local area peer agencies,
- Provide educational outreach to Spokane County residents including area school districts, private groups, and industry
As a result of the Clean Water Act, the Water Resources Program (formerly the Water Quality Management Program or WQMP) was created in 1979 to implement the Water Quality Management Plan for the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie (SVRP) Aquifer.
This aquifer was designated as a "sole source" aquifer in accordance with amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The primary criterion for designating a sole source aquifer is that it be the only economically feasible source of drinking water to the local community. These are given special protection, and often have special monitoring programs. The SVRP Aquifer - which flows from the south end of Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho through the Rathdrum Prairie and Spokane Valley before discharging into both the Little Spokane River and Spokane River - provides water for nearly 500,000 people in Spokane County.
Since April 2004, the Water Resources Program has worked to coordinate aquifer protection in balance with the Washington State Growth Management Act, Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA) programs, and numerous state and federal water standards and policies. It also actively participates in watershed planning for the Greater Spokane Watershed Basin.