Progress has been made to evaluate requests for new water rights that could affect flows in the Yakima River, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Water rights processing is winding down in the Moxee and Wide Hollow subbasins, but work continues in parts of Benton County, including West Richland, Richland and Badger Canyon.
"We're finding that most people are setting aside their requests for water, an option that provides them with time to seek needed mitigation or consider other alternatives," said Sage Park, a water resources manager with the state.
Of the 293 applications reviewed so far, 126 respondents have asked that their water application be put on hold, In addition, 48 have withdrawn applications and 15 applications have been denied. The remaining applicants have yet to return information on how they would like their water request to be processed.
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A U.S. Geological Survey study in fall 2011 showed that new groundwater use will reduce flows in the Yakima River and that groundwater in some areas is declining because of pumping by existing water users.