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Kimberly Wright University of Idaho Dept of Environmental Science ID 021-77873 203 N.

Grant Moscow, Idaho 83843

Dear Sir or Madam: I am respectfully requesting a student research grant in the amount of $5000 to help in funding research I plan to conduct regarding the conservation practices of the Palouse groundwater. I am currently a senior studying Environmental Science - Social Science and Philosophy - Bioethics at the University of Idaho. For my research I would like to focus on what limits the conservation of groundwater on the Palouse. I aim to conduct this research myself through using surveys and community meetings that I will outline in the proposal. Having lived on the Palouse the majority of my life I am enthusiastic about conducting this research because it has important implications not just for the community and region but for my own family as well. Thank you for your consideration of my request. Should you have any additional questions or require additional information or clarification please feel free to contact me at or 208-301-3459.


Kimberly Wright University of Idaho

Abstract I will analyze the conservation practices of ground water on the Palouse. Groundwater is the sole source of drinking water for the area has been in a steady decline for more than 50 years. The two main sources of drinking water for the region are two basalt aquifer systems: the Grande Ronde aquifer (lower aquifer) and the Wanapum aquifer (upper aquifer). Water levels within the Grande Ronde aquifer are declining. There are indications that while the upper aquifer has a relatively quick recharge rate, the lower aquifer has very little recharge if any at all. As such, the sole source of drinking water on the Palouse is now widely believed to be unsustainable, though little is known about actual recharge rates of the lower aquifer. Considering this, in my research I will analyze what the ground water situation is on the Palouse. Specifically, I will focus on how the municipalities and Universities who rely on the sole source aquifers for their drinking water are addressing the need for conservation. I will also analyze what future plans have been drawn, and make suggestions regarding what could be done in the future to increase conservation practices of this limited resource.

Objective: Groundwater on the Palouse has been in a steady decline since the first deep wells were drilled more then 50 years ago. Water levels within the Grande Ronde aquifer are declining at an average rate of 1.3 feet per year (Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee 2012). There are indications that while the upper aquifer has a relatively quick recharge rate, the lower aquifer has very little recharge, if any. The amount of water that is available for sustainable use in an aquifer system can be determined by the rate of recharge and discharge of the system. There is evidence that suggests the ground water pumped from the Grande Ronde Aquifer is being mined. To mine ground water is the idea that the water used is exceeding the possible rate of recharge and thus being used unsustainably which occurs when the rate of discharge exceeds the rate of recharge (Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee, 2012). Water conservation is widely acknowledged as an ever-increasing need on the Palouse to ensure a long-term solution to the water supply issues. The ideal solution would be to make the water pumped reduced to a sustainable level and still address the water needs of the region reliably. This could potentially be done through the identification of hindrances to sustainable water use and use those to address and increase conservation practices region wide and a heavily promoting a reduction in our demand on the system. Other solutions that were proposed, but are more drastic, include seeking ways to encourage increases in natural recharge rates, and the possibility of having to find a new source of drinking water for the future (Beall, A.; Fiedler, F.; Boll, J.; Cosens, B., 2011). Considering the more drastic potential solutions and the costs such a solution would incur the wise choice of the community would be to bring water awareness, education, and promote socially responsible conservation practices across the region. Each university and municipality has taken actions to meet their voluntary pump limits. For example, the city of Moscow has been proactive about education and social influence of conservation practices throughout the community (City of Moscow, 2012). This is fairly well received within the community, and Moscow makes great efforts to continue these programs (e.g. hosting competitions for sustainable landscaping). The University of Idaho has a partnership with the City of Moscow that allows them to pump and use reclaimed water for irrigation purposes (City of Moscow, 2012). This greatly reduces the amount the University of Idaho pumps from the aquifer system. Pullman and Washington State University have discussed the possibility of using reclaimed water for irrigation purposes but have yet to invest the resources required to redistribute the reclaimed water back from the water treatment plant to the University. Such a project, while expensive, has the potential to greatly reduce the pump load on the Grand Ronde Aquifer (PBAC, 2012). The City of Moscow currently places a great deal of importance on social pressure and public recognition as a conservation tactic (Columbia Institute, 2012). They use a variety

of social awareness methods; their yearly contest to promote sustainable landscaping is one example. Moscow has implemented more of this social tactic then Pullman, one possible reason might be that the citizens of Pullman are not as willing to accept similar programs. Programs like Moscows that promote social awareness and place status to individuals and businesses who participate in conservation practices show the importance of societal values in addressing conservation. Social programs can be used for both positive and negative reinforcement of values to promote conservation. Moscow has also implemented seasonally appropriate conservation charges on their water bills that discourage excess water use in the high demand months of the year. This tiered rate structure puts a penalty on abnormally high water usage, and water usage that doesnt meet the necessary conservation practices we require in the high demand months. Pullman has yet to address such needs to increase their conservation practices. One major criticism of Washington State University is the creation of a golf course without the ability to use reclaimed water to irrigate the course (Columbia Institute, 2012). Few consumers on the aquifer have appropriate information about the issues regarding the WSU water usage for the golf course a aesthetic and recreational use of water that is being pumped from a sole source aquifer with a finite and unsustainable supply of water. One step to increasing conservation of the groundwater is to reduce the non-essential aesthetic uses of the drinking water. Especially in cases of the WSU golf course where they have the option to adopt practices like the U of I who has been using reclaimed water use for irrigation since 1967. It is long past time for the other major university on the aquifer to do the same. I aim to research and address what conservation practices are currently in place and working to limit the groundwater pumped. In addition, I wish to research and analyze factors that may limit the conservation practices of our groundwater on the Palouse. Specifically, this research will focus on the current major uses, attitudes, and societal values that play roles in water conservation in order to address how we can adopt better conservation practices and awareness. Overall, my research aims to illuminate ways we can reduce our use of this precious limited resource, for ourselves and also for future generations. Importance: Groundwater is of incredible importance to everyone on the Palouse. The University of Idaho Environmental Science department and Waters of the West program have diverse programs to evaluate water use on the Palouse. My research is relevant to the B.S. degree I am seeking in Environmental Science and would provide relevant research experience for future degree programs or job opportunities. Additionally it would be useful to the University because I am interested in the broad range of societal values, attitudes, and problems that may affect or limit water conservation practices for Univeristy of Idaho, Washington State University, and the Palouse regional communities. Most research to this point has been conducted surrounding physical science aspects of the water problem; my research will focus on the social aspect of water conservation. Through evaluating these social aspects such as

values, and limiting factors of conservation I aim to bring entirely new data upon which fresh conclusions can be drawn and contribute to the conservation discussion that has been taking place surrounding water usage on the Palouse. Methods: In order to conduct this research I plan to host a series of community meetings in a variety of settings that will serve a dual purpose. The first purpose these community meetings will serve is to provide educational information about the water situation on the Palouse. In order to achieve this I will distribute information packets regarding local water issues that include helpful conservation practices and contact information for follow up questions. The second purpose of these meetings is to have them serve as the platform for my primary research and distribution of surveys to participants. I plan to conduct a multipart focus group survey where participants have the chance to fill out paper surveys as well as discuss issues they feel important within a moderated small group. This survey session will take place in a round robin setting allowing the most diverse mix of people and opinions. I will then analyze the information obtained from the community meetings for factors that contribute to conservation practices; these include things like individual and overall societal values, finance incentives or deterrents, societal pressure incentives, and other factors that are still to be determined. I will then use this data to make suggestions on how to address future conservation policy on the Palouse. Additionally, I would like to conduct both mail and door to door or location based surveys using the same questions that will be discussed at the community meetings. This will allow me to get a variety of data from people who would be otherwise unable to attend the community meeting locations. Further, I plan to obtain face-to-face interviews with policy makers at the local municipalities and universities to discuss their water conservation practices, the overall problem, and future plans to address sustainable pumping. This would give me the ability to relate and compare the conservation practices between both Universities and the local Municipalities on the Palouse. Survey Questions are provided in Appendix A. Timeline: Ideally this research would be conducted in late spring 2012 prior to the end of the Universities spring semesters to ensure the input of University students in the survey process. Upon receiving the grant I plan to schedule 1-2 interviews and community meetings a week over the course of the late spring early summer months. After the completion of each interview and meeting I will code and analyze the data received so they can be compared upon the completion of all the meetings and interviews.

After final completion of data collection it will take me less then three weeks to compare and analyze the acquired data. I expect the entire research project to take me approximately 160 hours of work to complete.

Bibliography Beall, A.; Fiedler, F.; Boll, J.; Cosens, B. (2011) Sustainable Water Resource Management and Participatory System Dynamics. Case Study: Developing the Palouse Basin Participatory Model. Sustainability, 2011, 3, 720-242 Retrieved from: City Of Moscow Idaho. (January 2012) Comprehensive Water System Plan.Moscow, ID: City of Moscow Idaho Columbia Institute. (2012) Aquifer in Crisis: WSU Water Mining, retrieved from: Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee. (September 2012) 2011 Palouse Groundwater Basin: Water Use Report. Moscow, ID: Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee. Palouse Water Conservation Network. (2012) Palouse Water Conservation Network. Retrieved from: University of Idaho. (2011) Palouse Basin: Community Water Information System. Retrieved from: Appendix A: Q1: How Water knowledgeable would you say you are? 1. Not knowledgeable 2. Somewhat knowledgeable 3. Knowledgeable 4. Extremely knowledgeable Additional Comments: Q2: What are the primary factors in your conserving or not conserving water? 1. Cost 2. Social pressure 3. Future generations 4. Environmental concerns 5. Other (please explain in additional comments) Additional Comments: Q3: How likely would you be to install water-conserving devices (i.e. low flow toilets, showerheads) in your home or business? 1. Not likely 2. Somewhat Likely 3. Likely 4. Extremely Likely

Additional Comments: Q4: What factors contribute to your decision to install or not install water saving devices in your home or business? 1. Cost 2. Water pressure loss 3. Appearances 4. Social pressures 5. Other (please explain in additional comments) Additional comments: Q5: How likely would you be to support a small conservation fee on municipal water usage that would benefit research into future sustainable water solutions? 1. Not likely 2. Somewhat likely 3. Likely 4. Extremely Likely Additional comments: Q6: What factors make you willing/unwilling to support a conservation fee? 1. Cost 2. Social Pressures 3. Concerns on proper use of fee 4. Future Generations 5. Other (please explain in additional comments) Additional comments: Q7: How much of a fee would you support? 1. 1-2% 2. 3-4% 3. 5-6% 4. 7-8% Additional comments: