Ongoing Projects

Water Bank Feasibility Study

Water banking is an institutional mechanism used to facilitate the legal transfer and market exchange of various types of surface, groundwater, and storage entitlements.

The term “water banking” is widely used to refer to a variety of water management practices. In general, no single or common definition exists for water banking, probably because there are such a wide range of approaches to water banking. The term “water banking” is increasingly being used within the water sector to describe other types of water management strategies that extend beyond the traditional definition.

Although banking approaches may differ, the common goal is to move water to where it is needed most. Generally, water banking functions better at the regional or watershed level, rather than at a statewide level. This is because it is difficult both physically and legally to transfer water to new uses outside of the basin the right originated in.

Banking is facilitated by an institution that operates in the role of broker, clearinghouse, or market-maker:
  • A clearinghouse serves mainly as a repository for bid and offer information.
  • Brokers connect or solicit buyers and sellers to create sales.
  • A market-maker attempts to ensure there are equal buyers to sellers in a market.
Many banks pool water supplies from willing sellers and make them available as credits to willing buyers. Learn more about this specific Spokane County Water Bank Feasibility study. Learn more about water banking in general at Department of Ecology, Water Banking.

Saltese Flats Wetland Restoration

Saltese Flats -- located in Water Resource Inventory Area 57 (WRIA 57), the Middle Spokane River and generally southeast of the City of Spokane Valley -- was a natural, shallow lake/wetland system, until around 1900, when much of the area was drained for agriculture. Spokane County purchased 510 acres of Saltese Flats and is restoring this area to a healthy wetland. Public access is provided. To learn more, visit

West Plains Hydrogeologic Framework

The goal of this project is to gather, evaluate, analyze and synthesize all existing hydrogeologic data and studies to develop and document a detailed assessment of the hydrogeologic framework and a conceptual model of the groundwater flow system of the West Plains. The intended uses of the hydrogeologic framework and conceptual groundwater flow model are for water management decision making, including pending water right applications, and as the foundation of a transient numerical groundwater flow model.